Vaccine resistance turns violent in MP as locals attack motivators
BHOPAL: Resistance to Covid vaccination in rural areas of Madhya Pradesh is now taking a violent turn.
A team led by a woman tehsildar, which went to Malikhedi village of Ujjain district on Monday to motivate villagers for vaccination, was attacked by villagers belonging to the Pardi community. The Pardis have historically been involved in crimes in MP and adjoining Rajasthan.
While the women tehsildar, the auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM) and other team members escaped unhurt due to timely action by their car driver, their team member Shakil Mohammad Qureshi (who was the husband of local gram panchayat’s assistant secretary) sustained head injury in the attack.
A video of the team escaping in their vehicle and the villagers attacking the panchayat assistant secretary’s husband went viral over social media subsequently.
One of the team members said: “The team comprising woman tehsildar, ANM, Asha workers and the local Patwari had come to the village to remove myths pertaining about vaccination and motivate them for inoculation. While the tehsildar and other team members were talking to villagers, a crowd of over 50 men and youths armed with rods and swords came to the spot and started misbehaving with the team.”
“Before we could understand anything, the villagers started attacking us. While the tehsildar and other team members managed to escape unhurt, I sustained head injury,” the injured man Shakil Mohammad Qureshi said.
According to staff at Unhel police station of Ujjain district, a case has been registered against four men for the attack and attempts are underway to arrest them.
Vaccination exercise is facing resistance, particularly in rural areas and tribal dominated districts and villages of MP. Two cases have so far been registered by police in tribal-dominated Alirajpur district for spreading rumours about vaccination exercise and also provoking commoners to oppose the exercise.
According to a senior health department official in Indore district, a significant number of those getting the vaccine jabs at vaccination centers in rural areas, are actually those who live in the city, but are driving to village centers for the jabs, owing to lack of slots at crowded vaccination centers in the city.