KALABURAGI: You may not believe, but Lakhan can become Lakshman or ask for Somu, and Somlu may answer. What’s in a name, you may say. For answer, you should speak to the officials on quarantine duty entrusted with the task of monitoring people under home quarantine, especially those from the Banjara tribe. It looks like the novel coronavirus is bringing with it some novel problems too.
Chasing Lakhan and instead getting Lakshman – this is turning into a headache for the officials monitoring Maharashtra returnees, most of them from the Banjara community residing in different thandas. The returnees are under home quarantine after completing the period of institutional quarantine.
An official on condition of anonymity told TNIE, “Some persons from the same family who were in institutional quarantine were discharged from the centre after seven days of mandatory quarantine.
Before discharging them, samples of their swabs were collected and sent to test. They were discharged before the results were out.”So far, so good. Trouble arose when the officials went looking for a person who tested positive. A person named Lakhan of one particular family had tested positive. When the officials went to his house and shouted his name, a man later identified as Lakshman came out instead of Lakhan. As a precaution, the officials checked his cell number in their records and Lakshman said it was his. However, the officials were taken aback after conducting a test again at the hospital. Lakshman tested negative. They had taken along with them the wrong person.
Wrong addresses stump officials
This happened in Devapur village of Chittapur taluk on May 30. Lakshman was taken back to the village and his brother, the actual Lakhan, was admitted to the hospital. In Banjara community, there are instances of people having names that sound similar -- Lakshman and Lakhan, Somu Naik and Somlu Naik, Lakshmi and Lakmi -- and the list goes on. Most of the family members use common cell phone and share same numbers even for official purpose, that has turned into a problem for the officials. Not just people, officials are also confounded by houses.
There have been instances of officials visitng a house as per the address given, and finding that it’s not their actual place of residence. Deputy Commissioner Sharat B told TNIE, “These people were reluctant to come to hospital. In some cases they pelted stones on the vehicles of the officials. The administration is taking the help of local Banjara leaders to pursue such unwilling persons”. Additional Deputy Commissioner Dr Shankar Vankyal said, “As far as possible the district administration is trying to implement home quarantine. We are insisting that people under home quarantine take selfies daily and upload them on the app.”