‘Pull up your socks’: Kerala HC raps police after attack on COVID warrior
BCI's criticism of Justice Muhamed Mustaque of Kerala high court over legal education divides the legal fraternity. File photo

‘Pull up your socks’: Kerala HC raps police after attack on COVID warrior

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Taking cognizance of the attack on a female health worker in Kerala’s Thrikkunnappuzha by unidentified miscreants, the Kerala High Court on Wednesday ordered the state police to “pull up their socks” to protect frontline workers and COVID-warriors from “unscrupulous elements”.

Two unidentified assailants on Monday tried to kidnap a 35-year-old woman, a nursing assistant at the COVID-19 ward of Government Medical College Hospital in Alappuzha, while she was returning home on her scooter. The attackers allegedly followed her and hit her with a helmet, following which she lost control of the scooter which hit an electric pole.

While the duo first wanted to mug her, they tried kidnapping her when they didn’t find any valuables on her person. The victim managed to escape and took shelter in a nearby home. A police patrolling team reached the spot at the same time, seeing whom the assailants fled the spot.

A case of robbery has been filed with the Thrikunnapuzha police station and a probe has been initiated into the incident.

“We are not taking it as a solitary issue. We are taking note of it as the issue will have larger ramifications for the future. Time has come to put a stop to it,” a bench of Justices Devan Ramachandran and Kauser Edappagath said.

The bench hoped that with the court taking cognisance of the matter, it would send a signal to such bad elements.

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During the hearing, government pleader S Kannan told the bench that a FIR has been lodged in relation to the incident and police were trying to identify the culprits. He said it was a solitary incident.

The bench, however, disagreed with the submission, stating that while the incident was a law and order issue, since a COVID warrior was attacked it was going to consider the matter as part of its proceedings in relation to the recent attacks on doctors and health workers at hospitals.

The bench also said that where COVID warriors and their services are concerned, society has the duty to ensure they are protected and kept away from harm.

“Obviously, the police now need to pull up their socks and ensure that the lives of all these warriors are sufficiently protected,” the court said.

The Bench perused the action taken report of the State Police Chief with regard to the court’s earlier directions relating to ensuring security of the public and private hospitals and noted that he has issued executive directions on September 20 to all his officers to take stern action in cases of attack on healthcare workers.

State Police Chief Anil Kant, on August 27, directed all Commissioners of Police and Deputy Commissioners of Police to strengthen the existing police aid posts in the hospitals and ensure round- the-clock surveillance by the police in the casualty and outpatient departments to curb atrocities against doctors and health workers, Kannan told the bench.

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Subsequently, on September 20, the State Police Chief directed all SHOs to react swiftly and quickly to complaints by hospitals or their staff and to take necessary action without delay, the government pleader told the court.

The State Police Chief’s order came in the wake of the High Court’s September 9 direction that a quick response from the police is necessary to ensure safety of health professionals from assaults and prevent people from taking law into their hands.

(With inputs from agencies)

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