Headlines April 23, 2020
Tough punishment for those who attack healthcare workers: PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that a tougher punishment for attacks on health care workers fighting the COVID-19 battle is necessary to ensure the safety of healthcare experts. He said this was an indication of the government’s commitment to protect each and every healthcare worker in India.
On twitter, PM Modi announced the The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 and said it “manifests our commitment to protect each and every healthcare worker who is bravely battling COVID-19 on the frontline. It will ensure safety of our professionals. There can be no compromise on their safety!”
Those accused of attacking healthcare workers can face up to seven years in jail and a hefty fine after this ordinance. An executive order was passed on Wednesday afternoon which also makes these crimes non-bailable.
Offenders could go to jail for a minimum of six months and up to five years. If the injuries are serious, the prison term can be up to seven years. Attackers will also be fined anywhere between ₹ 50,000 and ₹ 2 lakh, and in severe cases, that can go up to ₹ 2 lakh to ₹ 5 lakh.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah had earlier declared the safety of medical personnel “non-negotiable” and assured protection to doctors and other healthcare professionals handling COVID-19 cases.
The government has also made the Epidemic Act a “concurrent Act”, which means during an epidemic, the centre can step in and take action on subjects that are under state jurisdiction.
There have been several cases of healthcare workers and police personnel on COVID-19 duty being attacked by mobs in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Karnataka.
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