Jobless Corona warriors in Madhya Pradesh threaten to intensify stir; 15 detained


As many as 3,000 corona health workers have started a protest after the Madhya Pradesh government’s sudden decision to relieve them of duty. 15 protestors were detained from Bhopal’s Neelam Park late Thursday evening.

Viral videos from the spot show police entering the crowd and raining blows on the protestors including women health workers. (Screengrab)

The Bhopal police in its attempt to break the ongoing protests of coronavirus warriors across Madhya Pradesh detained 15 protestors from the city’s Neelam Park late Thursday evening.

Over three thousand health workers who were hired by the Madhya Pradesh government at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak in March this year are protesting across the state after a sudden decision by the government to relieve them of their duties. At the time of their employment, the government had promised them a one-time payment of Rs 10,000 in addition to their regular salary to honour their fight against the deadly virus as frontline workers but the same was never given to them.

The protestors in Bhopal were forcibly evicted from the Neelam Park where a large number of retrenched health workers had gathered. Many of the protestors served as nurses and para-medical staff when the government started its fight against Covid-19 in March this year.

They were initially hired for three months at a fixed salary of Rs 20,000 and their contract was twice renewed before they were asked to leave at the end of November. The protestors are alleging that they have been rendered jobless at a time when coronavirus is hitting back in the form of a second

“The government had promised us Rs 10,000 to honour and acknowledge the risks that were taking as frontline warriors, we never got that money and now we have lost our jobs and the worst part is coronavirus is still not over,“ Jettendra Kushwaha, leader of the protestors told India Today TV said.

The protests are not confined to Bhopal alone. In Khargone on Thursday, protestors burnt the appreciation certificates that were given to them in recognition of their work during the pandemic in front of the district BJP office.

In Vidisha protestors served a memorandum to the district collector on Wednesday and threatened to intensify their stir if the government did not favourably resolve their matter.

Health Minister Prabhu Ram Chaudhary while defending the government’s move said, “They were hired on a temporary basis as per the need of the hour. As far coronavirus warriors are concerned we have facilitated them and their work is being appreciated,” Chaudhary said.

The government had appointed over 6000 health workers on a temporary basis at the onset of the pandemic. Of those, over 3,000 workers have been relieved while the remaining 3,000 have been given a one-month reprieve in the form of an extension in their contract till December 31. The health workers have threatened to intensify their stir in the coming days if they are not taken back at least till the time coronavirus is officially declared over.



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