Harassment on health workers: Meghalaya High Court directs govt to take action

Shillong, July 16: The Meghalaya High Court on Thursday directed state authorities to take immediate action on any reported cases of harassment against health workers in the state amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic.

In an order passed today, Justice H. S. Thangkhiew and Justice W. Diengdoh stated that a letter from NEIGRIHMS Director Dr. P Bhattacharyya to the Commissioner & Secretary to the Government of Meghalaya regarding the plight of health workers, especially of the institute was brought to notice by Advocate K. Paul.

According to the letter, there are cases wherein these workers, are being told not to come out of their homes, being instructed not to come home from duty, being told not to go to work, apart from other unreasonable instructions being placed upon them and their families.

“These Health Workers, Doctors and all other persons engaged in such Health Institutions, are essential and crucial for the society as a whole, and their services in these trying times is all the more essential, and the services rendered by them so far, is highly commendable,” the bench said.

The court felt that all local communities, local durbars and youth organisations should extend their support and assistance, in ensuring that there are no instances of harassment, stigmatization or ostracization, or any unreasonable restrictions being placed upon these Health Workers.

“The State respondents are also to ensure that adequate awareness be imparted on this aspect to the local communities, so that such instances do not occur. It has also been mentioned in the report that the State respondents have on 19.06.2020, constituted a committee namely the ‘Behavioural Change Management Committee’ at the village/locality and community level with the endeavour and objective of bringing about behavioural change in each and every individual in these days of Covid-19.

It is also therefore expected that this area of concern, i.e. the treatment meted out to the Health Workers in their local communities, be also addressed positively by this Management Committee at the micro level,” the bench added.