From Anti-CAA Protests To Covid-19: How Moradabad Has Become A Challenge For Yogi Adityanath Government

From Anti-CAA Protests To Covid-19: How Moradabad Has Become A Challenge For Yogi Adityanath GovernmentChief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath. 
Snapshot
  • Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad, which was a flashpoint for anti-CAA protests,  has now become a challenge for Yogi Adityanath government with people attacking frontline Covid-19 workers.

After stone pelting and attacks on doctors and health workers rocked Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, health workers are hesitating to conduct door-to-door screening of residents in the fight against Covid 19. In Nawabpura area, the locals even held a doctor hostage.

NDTV reported Sandeep Badolat, a member of the Pharmacists Association, as saying that medical workers would continue to risk their lives in the care of Covid-19 patients and the fight against coronavirus, but there should be some changes in screening-related protocols.

Badolat said: "we are ready to work round the clock but it is not the duty of health workers to go door-to-door to quarantine suspected patients. Our duty is to conduct tests and provide them treatment. Health workers do not have the power to remove coronavirus suspects from homes. This is district administration work... police should do this."

After a man lost his life to Covid-19, a team reached Nawabpura area to identify, check and quarantine people who had come in contact with the person who died. As per reports, the medical team on duty was about to move from the locality with some suspected Covid 19 people, when their ambulance was stopped by people.

In a Navbharat Times report, Dr Agarwal said is quoted as saying that as soon as the medical team including the doctors made the four family members of the Covid-19 positive patient sit in the ambulance, people surrounded them and there was an argument. People attacked them. An elderly person tried to help save the medical team and then the police arrived.

Earlier this month, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed officials to deal with people who stop frontline workers from carrying out their duties, and those who are endangering the lives of other people with their irresponsible behaviour, firmly.

Reacting to the Moradabad incident, Adityanath said that the damage and loss to public property by the culprits will be looked into and money recovered from them.

He also said that the attack on the frontline warriors fighting Covid-19 was a serious crime. Condemning it, he directed action against the culprits under the National Security Act.

Moradabad's Barwalan area came into spotlight when 13 Tablighi Jamaat attendees of the congregation at the Markaz in Delhi's Nizamuddin were picked up from here by the police earlier this month. Police found them in the mosque after receiving information.

The task before the Uttar Pradesh government and the state police of tackling the situation surrounding the ‘single source’ is challenging. The state has 569 attendees of the congregation at Nizamuddin's Markaz and 218 foreign nationals, who are suspected of being infected by Covid-19. They had been put under quarantine.

The police filed an FIR against those people who were harbouring these foreign nationals.

Last month, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for the Janata Curfew, Moradabad was in news for people continuing their protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Reports said that people sitting on dharna against CAA were not willing to withdraw protests even after Prime Minister's call for the Janata Curfew, and were not ready to respond to the appeals of the religious leaders to give up protests. The venue for the protests was the Idgah grounds in Galshaheed area of Moradabad.

The anti CAA protests went on for two months here.

This Patrika report mentions that the local administration took help of videography to issue directions on action against those protesting against CAA. Police and local administration were concerned about the impact of the gathering on public health in the backdrop of the Covid-19 threat. The protesters were not ready to cooperate.

Barring the grounds, the effect of Janata Curfew could be seen in the rest of Moradabad, the report says.

This report mentions that the local imam and a Member of Parliament from Samajwadi Party appealed to the people to give up protests after Modi's appeal for Janata Curfew. People protesting against CAA chose to ignore the appeals, not caring for the well-being of others in the backdrop of a 19-year-old girl testing positive for the virus.

The protesters did not budge. Hundreds of people were present at the Idgah grounds during the Janata Curfew and speeches were delivered. A case was registered against 12 identified and 150 unknown people for defying and flouting the rules.

The Idgah grounds in Moradabad had turned into a protest site on the lines of Delhi's Shaheen Bagh in January. People from nearby Sambhal, too, joined the protests.

Moradabad was under Section 144 (which prohibits assembly of five or more people, holding of public meetings), but the gathering took place and continued.

In February, a man from the information department team got trapped by the angry protesters here as per a report on the ABP website. He was rescued by the police.

In February, the police and local administration were on high alert after the anti-CAA riots rocked Delhi. The area surrounding the Idgah was under watch.

In the backdrop of Moradabad's own context was the participation of former Uttar Pradesh Governor Aziz Qureshi in the anti-CAA protests and his speech.

Moradabad registered an FIR against Qureshi for "allegedly delivering a provocative speech to anti-CAA protesters at the Eidgah Maidan here on February 22”.

While the local Member of Parliament is from Samajwadi Party, Congress has been a keen competitor to it in terms of people contact. Former cricketer and Congress leader Mohammad Azharuddin won the Lok Sabha election from here in 2009.

In 2018, he was in news for coming over to Moradabad all the way from Hyderabad for Eid.

The other person who came into focus during the anti-CAA protests was Congress leader Imran Pratapgarhi, who is also known as a 'poet'. Moradabad police and administration have kept their momentum of action against these events.

India Today reported:

On February 15, the Moradabad administration served a recovery notice of Rs 1.04 crore to poet and Congress leader Imran Pratapgarhi for attending the demonstration and instigating the protestors. The administration notice said that the penalty was calculated on the basis of the Rs 13.42 lakh being spent daily on the deployment of police and paramilitary forces at the Eidgah protest site.

Between the anti-CAA protests at the Idgah and the incident at Nawabpura area, Moradabad presents a picture which is of grave concern.

The medical staff said that people seemed prepared to confront and attack the medical team, and the damage to the ambulance and the police vehicle was huge.

This report states that people in the locality said they will not be tested for the virus even if it spreads.

Police investigations are underway in the Nawabpura area case. India today has reported that drones have captured visuals of the attack by people.

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