New Delhi: After a report by The Wire brought to light how residents of Mewla Gopalgarh village in Uttar Pradesh who contracted COVID-19 virus were getting ‘treated’ under a neem tree due to the lack of healthcare facilities, the state government has targeted some residents, accusing hem of giving “false statements” to the media.
According to the Times of India, the Gautam Budh Nagar administration, under whose jurisdiction the village falls, has accused Harveer Talan (65) and Yogesh Talan, former pradhan of the village, of misleading residents of the village by spreading rumours with an intention to taint the image of the Uttar Pradesh government and the district administration during the pandemic.
The former pradhan had told The Wire that since the panchayat elections on April 19, an unusually high number of residents had complained of sickness. “Not a single house where nobody is experiencing cough or fever. The administration has failed terribly on two fronts, testing and providing medical facilities to the sick. People are feeling helpless in this village,” he had said.
He had also added: “The hospitals are refusing to admit patients who are experiencing even major symptoms and suffering from high fever.”
The Wire‘s report had noted that Harveer Talan, like several others, has been sitting in the shade of a neem tree during the day, with glucose bottles hanging to its branches. They believed that the healing properties of the tree would alleviate them of COVID-19 symptoms. The neem tree is in an open ground where a number of sick villagers have been lying on the cots during the day.
The administration has, however, has rejected the claims of the locals that they were using this ‘treatment’ because of unavailability of health facilities. It has accused Harveer Talan of intentionally consulting “quacks” and refusing to get admitted for treatment at a COVID care facility even after a bed was offered to him, a local official told the Times of India.
Contrary to the residents’ claim that nobody had been tested in their village, the local administration has claimed that two testing camps have been organised since May 13 to screen the population.
Late on Monday, May 17, the in-charge of Jewar primary health centre filed a complaint with the local police against the villagers. The Police said an FIR would be filed with Yogesh Talan named as accused and under IPC sections 188 (disobedience of a public servant’s order), 269 and 270 (act of spreading infection), and under the sections of the Epidemic Diseases Act.