A 29-year-old resident doctor from Safdarjung Hospital and her younger sister were allegedly assaulted by a 42-year-old man Wednesday night when they were buying fruit and groceries outside their residence in South Delhi’s Gautam Nagar.
Police have arrested the man, Sanjeev Sharma, an interior designer, and registered an FIR at Hauz Khas police station under IPC sections 354 (molestation), 509 (outraging the modesty of women), 323 (causing hurt) and 341 (wrongful restraint).
The incident took place around 9.30 pm. “We were picking up fruits when he started asking us to maintain a distance of one metre from each other. Initially, we listened to him peacefully and did not react much. While he kept talking about social distancing, I mentioned that we both are doctors too. He immediately lost his cool and started blaming us for spreading coronavirus,” said the 29-year-old, who hails from Uttar Pradesh and lives on rent in the capital.
While she is a junior resident doctor at the emergency department, her sister is preparing for her postgraduate entrance exams. “He kept saying we are the reason for transmission. He said, ‘Tum logon ki wajah se coronavirus phail raha hai duniya mein, tum jaise gande doctors ki wajah se (coronavirus is spreading across the country because of dirty doctors like you)’. He threatened to file a police complaint, and when he realised we weren’t scared, he came and slapped me, twisted my arm and pushed my sister,” she said.
Dr Manish, president of the Resident Doctors’ Association at Safdarjung Hospital, said the incident had left the sisters traumatised: “The groceries and fruits they had bought were scattered… We took them to the hospital’s mess late at night. They were not even in a condition to talk.”
Delhi Police spokesperson Mandeep Singh Randhawa confirmed Sharma’s arrest and said that he has assured all doctors and hospital staff that efforts would be made to keep them safe, and security would be tightened at hospitals.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also took note of the incident: “I found out that two doctors were mistreated when they were buying something yesterday. They were told that they will spread coronavirus. This behaviour will not be tolerated. The doctors and nurses are saving our lives. If they stop working, we will be in a very dire situation. They are facing two-pronged issues. On one hand, they are putting themselves in danger as they treat patients. On the other, people are misbehaving with them instead of applauding them. I met the L-G and several officers, including the Commissioner of Police in the morning. It has been communicated that this behaviour will not be tolerated. Such people will be punished and strict action will be taken against those who are behaving in this disgusting manner.”
The Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association, an umbrella body of resident doctors in Delhi, has written to the Union Home Minister to take appropriate action in such cases. “Any act of violence against doctors should be made a non-bailable offence,” the association wrote.
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