Chennai doctor death: Doctors threaten retaliation if cremations are blocked

PT Jyothi Datta Mumbai | Updated on April 21, 2020 Published on April 21, 2020

Corporation personnel monitor a street in Gopalapuram, Chennai, where a resident has been tested Covid-19-positive. The street has been blocked for traffic Bijoy Ghosh

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has warned of retaliation if cremations are obstructed.

The IMA statement follows disconcerting reports from Chennai, where late Dr Simon Hercules, who had died from the Covid infection, was not allowed a burial by mobs that gathered at the cemetery and allegedly beat up his family, friends and even the ambulance driver.

“It is a matter of great concern that these doctors who had died in their line of duty be treated shabbily and in such an uncivilised manner, the IMA note said.

“Even more shocking is the utter helplessness of the State Government in preventing such incidents. If the Governments do not have power to stop such incidents they lose their moral right to govern,” the doctors association said.

The IMA has shown much restraint in spite of extreme provocation. “That doesn’t mean our patience is endless,” they said, referring to incidents of abuse, violence, spitting, pelting of stones , denial of entry to societies and residential accommodation that have been reported from across the country.

When the Government is unable to discharge its constitutional obligations, perhaps these are not normal times, the note said.

“Denial of dignity in death is the ultimate sacrilege. It has to be realised that the doctors are rendering services at extreme risk to themselves. No nation sends its army to war without weapons,”the note said, adding that doctors, nurses and health care workers of this country had been sent to fight against Covid-19 without PPEs and they are dying young defending their people.

“If the value of such services are not realised, the easiest thing for the doctor community will be to sit at home. The bigger sufferers will be the community,”the IMA said.

“Already all interventions have been withdrawn. If more services are going to be withheld for non medical reasons it will be unfortunate, the IMA said.

If states are unable to protect the medical fraternity, the IMA said, it has “no option but to resort to drastic steps to protect the rights of the medical profession. Appropriate retaliatory measures will be decided if the constitutional machinery breaks down,” the IMA said.

Published on April 21, 2020
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