Indian cancer hospital says won’t treat Muslims
A half-page advertisement published in a Meerut edition of Dainik Jagran – a Hindi newspaper has announced that Valentis Cancer Hospital in the Indian city of Meerut will not admit patients from Muslim-majority areas in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The medical facility is a dedicated cancer hospital with 50 beds and caters to the population of Meerut including Mawana, Sardhana and Muzaffarnagar across western Uttar Pradesh, barred the entry of Muslims until they come clean with coronavirus test results.
In case of a medical emergency, medical assistance will be made available on a condition if “patient and the caretaker undergo corona infection test after paying Rs4,500 each”.
The hospital administrator also alleged that “several Muslim patients in the hospital are not cooperating and misbehaving with our staff” referring to alleged incidents attributed to Tableeghi Jamaat members.
While emphasizing, the advertisement reads “New Muslim patients will only be admitted if results are negative” and this diktat will be applied “until the end of the epidemic”.
The advertisement further says that Muslim professionals including judges, medical staff, police officers, Shia Muslims and those not living in Muslim-majority areas would not be barred from availing the treatment.
After the incident came to light, Incholi police under whose jurisdiction the hospital falls, in Meerut district was ordered to probe further into the case.
While the hospital claims that pretty much all of its Covid-19 patients are connected to the Tableeghi Jamaat, it has been found that out of 70 patients, 46 were actually connected to the Jamaat. It is the belief of the management team in the hospital that almost all cases are coming from Muslim-majority areas.
Despite the blatant discrimination on show, the hospital seems to be sticking to its policy for the time being.
The policy is a violation of human rights, as no patient can be denied treatment on the basis of his or her religion or illness.
The anti-Muslim rhetoric in India has been growing steadily over the years, supported in no small way by insidious means and fringe groups coming into the mainstream. With the advent of the coronavirus, the disease has become just another excuse to segregate Muslims.