Police in northeastern India arrested 24 people this week for “brutally” assaulting a doctor inside a hospital after a Chinese coronavirus patient died under the physician’s care, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported Friday.
Himanta Biswa Sarma, the Chief Minister of Assam — the Indian state in which the incident occurred — said “24 people were arrested for allegedly assaulting the doctor at the [medical] facility,” according to PTI.
At least 24 people, including women, launched a prolonged physical assault on Dr. Seuj Kumar Senapati inside the Udali Covid Care Center in the Assam town of Hojai on June 1 after a critically ill coronavirus patient died in his care.
“Immediately after that, the relatives [of the deceased patient] and a group of people known to the [coronavirus] victim arrived there and started beating up the doctor,” Hojai Superintendent of Police Barun Purkayastha told PTI.
Videos of the mob attack went viral on social media this week, sparking a national outcry within India. The footage featured in one video clip appears to show a number of people standing around Dr. Senapati while he is seated on the floor of a hospital room. Several men kick Dr. Senapati repeatedly throughout the video as he attempts to protect his face and head from the blows with his hands. One man violently strikes the doctor repeatedly on his head with a metal bedpan, while another uses what appears to be a broom to beat the physician.
— Dr. Kamal debnath (@debnath_aryan) June 1, 2021
Another video clip appears to show the mob forcing Dr. Senapati to stand up as they continue to assault him while walking down a corridor and onto the front lawn of the hospital. An apparent security or police officer, based on his uniform, appears in the video as the mob moves outside the hospital. This individual fails to deter the mob of at least two dozen people, however, which soon forces Dr. Senapati back inside the hospital for further assaults after beating him outside for a brief period.
“Such barbaric attacks on our frontline workers won’t be tolerated by our administration,” Chief Minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma told reporters this week. Sarma asked Assam’s Director General of Police (DGP) Gyanendra Pratap Singh “to ensure that the culprits are brought to justice” on June 2, according to PTI.
Dr. Senapati was hospitalized earlier this week for injuries sustained during his attack but “is now in a stable condition,” India’s Scroll news site reported on June 2. The physician’s beating is among several physical assaults on coronavirus doctors and medical staff in India since the start of the pandemic.