Hyderabad: A 55-year-old doctor, who was undergoing treatment for the COVID-19 at Chennai’s Apollo hospital for the last two weeks, succumbed to the virus on Sunday. However, the cremation of the doctor – who had likely contracted the disease from the patients he was treating – was obstructed by a large crowd who feared the spread of the Corona virus. The residents also assaulted the doctor’s family and friends who had accompanied the body.

Taking a serious note of the incident, the Indian Medical Association issued a notice that warned retaliation if cremations are obstructed. The IMA called the incident the ultimate sacrilege. The association says it’s a matter of great concern that doctors who died on in their line of duty are being treated shabbily and in such an uncivilised manner. It also condemned the apathy of the state governments in preventing such incidents.

“The IMA has shown great restraint in spite of extreme provocations. That doesn’t mean our patience is endless. Incidents of abuse, violence, spitting, pelting of stones, denial of entry into residential complexes have been tolerated so far since we expected the governments to do its duty,“ the association said in its official statement.

It said that the doctors are rendering services at extreme risk to themselves. The association warned that the doctors would stay at home if the state governments failed to protect the rights of medical professionals.

“The state governments concerned should fulfill their constitutional duties as expected of them, failing which IMA would have no option but to resort to drastic steps to protect the rights of medical professionals.”

“No country sends its army to war without weapons. The doctors, nurses and healthcare workers of this country have been sent to fight the COVID-19 without any Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and they are dying while defending others. If the value of such services is ignored, the easiest thing for the doctor community to do will be to stay at home,” the association added.

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