Indian hospital splits coronavirus wards based on religion

By: News Desk      Published: 02:02 PM, 16 Apr, 2020
Indian hospital splits coronavirus wards based on religion

An Indian doctors’ group has condemned a decision by a government-run Covid-19 hospital in Ahmedabad city to house Hindu and Muslim patients in separate wards and has demanded the “strictest possible action” against those responsible.

The Progressive Medicos and Scientists Forum (PMSF), a non-government body of doctors, said such acts of “differentiating between patients on the basis of religion” would “undermine the confidence” of sections of the population in government hospitals.

“It fills us with sheer disgust and a sense of insoluble hurt to our humanity to note that the ruling classes of India have stooped down to the level of differentiating between patients on the basis of religion,” the PMSF said in a statement.

Gujarat’s BJP government, by allowing differentiation between patients on the basis of faith, has sent a clear message to the management, doctors and other staff at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital to follow suit, the PMSF statement said. “This is bound to have serious consequences for the wellbeing of patients irrespective of their religion, and will undermine the confidence of vast sections of society in public health institutions,” it said.

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The PMSF has acknowledged that the state deputy chief minister and health minister Nitin Patel had denied any knowledge of the existence of such orders.

Although the health minister has promised to inquire into the incident, the PMSF said, the fact that such differentiation has occurred in a civil hospital “speaks volumes about the state of governance under the BJP state government”.

“If indeed this act had been committed without the minister’s knowledge, he should have apologised for such an unpardonable act by the officers of his department and should have given an undertaking to take the strictest possible action against the culprits,” the PMSF said.

The PMSF members include multiple doctors earlier with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, and other medical institutions in Delhi, Patna, Calcutta, Jaipur and Mumbai.

Medical Superintendent Dr Gunvant H Rathod said separate wards for Hindu and Muslim patients had been created in accordance with state government directive. “Generally, there are separate wards for male and female patients. But here, we have made separate wards for Hindu and Muslim patients,” he said, reported the Indian Express on Thursday. 

When asked for the reason for such segregation he replied: “It is a decision of the government and you can ask them.”

Dividing people on religion country's worst enemy: Priyanka Gandhi

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also came down heavily on reports that separate wards have been created in an Ahmedabad hospital for patients of different faiths, and said anyone seeking to divide people on religious lines is the worst enemy of the country.

"We are one nation, and we are fighting to save ourselves from a devastating pandemic which does not distinguish between us.

"Anyone seeking to divide us along the lines of religion, caste or creed is the worst kind of enemy of this great nation and its brave people," she said on Twitter.