Kolkata: Two incidents on lockdown day, one of an MD student being hounded by neighbours after he tested Covid positive and another of an injured teenager whose uncle had to pedal 6km to transport him in a cycle van from one hospital to another for treatment, pointed to how the city on the edge is turning a blind eye to those in distress.
The third-year MD at the School of Tropical Medicine, who has been living at his aunt’s house in Behala (he hails from Cooch Behar), found the neighbours turning aggressive after he and his aunt tested positive. Problems cropped up after KMC staff came to sanitize the area. “The neighbours questioned why a doctor should be staying in their locality and asked him to shift out. It was then that he contacted his seniors who then got in touch with police,” said an officer from Thakurpukur police station.
On being alerted, Thakurpukur police stepped in and told the neighbours that he would go nowhere. “He is a Covid warrior and will stay in home isolation till he is cured. Anyone troubling him or his aunt will be dealt legally,” said DC (Behala) Nilanjan Biswas.
Locals though said the doctor was flouting quarantine norms and stepping out everyday, leading to the protests.
In another incident, the uncle of a 14-year-old had to run from one hospital to another for treatment. Kartik Sarkar, who had lost his father when he was a child, was sitting on the pavement in Jorasanko when a bike rammed into him around 9.30pm on Friday, causing multiple fractures. He was rushed to NRS Hospital where he was administered blood and saline. On Saturday morning, his uncle wanted to shift him to RG Kar Hospital. The doctors at NRS said it was a family decision, a claim contested by Kartik’s uncle Mangal Baidya, a van rickshaw puller, who said he was asked by the doctors to do so.
“They had not spoken about any ambulance. My neighbours tried arranging one but we could not afford the steep price that was quoted. I decided to transfer him to RG Kar hospital in my van,” said Baidya. He covered the distance of 6 km in less than an hour. “The road was empty and there were cops every 1.5 km. But they did not step in to offer an ambulance,” recounted Baidya.
At RG Kar, authorities allegedly refused to admit him without a police undertaking since it was an accident case. The child lay in the van holding a saline bottle as the uncle rushed to Jorasanko police station. Baidya got the necessary clearance and returned to the hospital for admission.
Kolkata Police officers said they had asked their men to be humane. “I do not know the case as of now. I will look into the details,” said a joint CP at the police headquarters.