An Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) worker in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, who went to a hamlet to gather information on local individuals for the COVID immunisation was allegedly harassed and attacked, reported The Indian Express.
Geeta Singh (49) was assaulted on June 3 in Dumaria village as she was asking questions about inhabitants, according to the police. The attacker reportedly tore an official notebook that had information about people she had already met. A case has been filed against 10 people at the Gulaharia police station. No one has been arrested so far.
Singh, posted at the Bhathat community health center (CHC), said, "I had to prepare a report of local residents by collecting their Aadhaar and telephone number. I reached Chotte Lal's house and asked for the Aadhar number of all family members".
She added that soon after, Chotte Lal's son Pappu arrived and started abusing her for asking details. He told her no one in the family needed vaccination. "Some women arrived, and when I again asked the family for their details, they pushed me and forcibly took my notebook," she said.
SHO Vinod Kumar of the Gulaharia police station confirmed an FIR had been filed under several sections of the IPC and that an investigation had commenced. Meanwhile, the state's health minister Health Minster Jai Pratap Singh said that a team has been set up to investigate the matter, reported Yahoo News. " ASHA workers safety is our responsibility," said the minister.
Such attacks, however, are not new. Last year, an ASHA worker was reportedly manhandled by a mob of 40-50 in Sadiq Nagar in Sarayipalya, Bengaluru, while conducting surveillance work. After a domestic maid in the neighborhood tested positive for COVID-19, ASHA worker Krishnaveni and other workers went to Sadiq Nagar for field surveillance. The staff visited homes and noted down the names and phone numbers of the people to see if any of them had symptoms. A group of 40 to 50 people from a minority community encircled her and voiced their displeasure with her activities in the area. Krishnaveni stated in a statement to the media that she was unlawfully restrained by a large mob of minority community workers.
These workers, who form the basic level of the healthcare chain, are often overworked and underpaid. Their average monthly wage accounts for around Rs 4,000, according to a Financial Express report.