Rooting out Covid-19 Discrimination
The scenario today may be termed as racism of a new kind. Quite strangely, all over the country, people are treating those persons, who are either suffering or combating the corona pandemic as untouchables. They are being asked to vacate houses, forced to leave the locality. Refusing to follow such absurd diktats, even inviting corporal punishments on many occasions. All such deplorable acts are being committed in the name of Covid-19, showing utter disrespect to age-old norms of decency and tolerance.
Among the Indian states, West Bengal has always been regarded as a progressive one. But it seems that the break out of the pandemic has turned the clock backwards. Otherwise, how can an employee of a hospital be prevented from entering her own village to meet her mother and sister. The said employee has been in the medical profession for quite some time and throughout this entire period would visit her mother weekly. But Covid-19 has changed the scenario entirely. The lady medical practitioner these days is no longer welcomed in her own village. The opposition to her entry in the village is so strong that even local administration appear to be helpless.
Frighteningly enough, this is not an isolated incident. Sensing that the situation may go out of hand, many state governments have now arranged temporary residences for all health workers near the working places. It goes to the credit of the Covid-19 warriors that despite all odds, they are still trying to save as many lives as possible. But the million-dollar question is how long will they be forced to live in isolation only for standing beside the people at the time of their need? The most inhuman treatment in this regard has perhaps extended to thousands of Northeastern girls who were working as nurses in West Bengal. Being unable to live under so much stress, these girls left the state overnight, leaving a huge void in health services in West Bengal. Thus, at present with numbers of Covid-19 positive patients increasing, the state is worryingly short of medical staff which raises a question mark on the quality of treatment being provided to the patients.
While the sacrifices made by the medical staff are being deliberately overlooked, the story is no different in case of Covid-19 survivors too. Persons, even after being recovered fully, are not being allowed to reenter their houses. Even if they manage to enter with the help of the administration, they are not allowed to come out of their houses. Local shopkeepers are unwilling to offer them essential goods. They are being kept under surveillance by those who still seem to be living with archaic thoughts of superstition.
As the pandemic has divided the society into two, it is time now for all of us to realise that in the name of being safe from communicable disease, we cannot take an ostrich-like attitude. We are not safe whilst a single affected person remains in the society. The world will only find its original rhythm when it will be completely corona free. Thus, a discriminatory approach will make this virus more lethal, rather than rooting it out forever.