Respect those on the front line | HT Editorial – Editorials
On Sunday, at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call, the nation came together to applaud the services of those who are on the front lines of the battle against coronavirus disease (Covid-19). Those providing essential services include doctors, nurses, paramedics, and support staff in hospitals and nursing homes across the country, who, risking their own lives, often without protective equipment, are evaluating patients and treating the infected. . They include aviation personnel who, once again, risked their lives, evacuated those in severely affected countries and brought them home. They include public servants, from the local police officer who ensures that communities remain safe until the government official goes to work every day to keep the wheels of administration running. They include journalists, who are on the field and in newsrooms, providing accurate and reliable information to readers and viewers.
However, this citizen-led moment of national honor does not appear to have translated into meaningful action. Instead, there appears to be a growing wave of surveillance actions against precisely those fighting Covid-19 to keep society safe. On Sunday, Air India released a statement about how its staff was being excluded by resident resident welfare associations (RWA) and neighbors, even the police were called, only because airline staff had traveled and returned from abroad. On Tuesday, another airline employee posted a heartbreaking video about how she and her mother were being harassed, just because she was still working. This has been extended to doctors and other healthcare workers now, with residential societies and homeowners asking them to leave their homes because they work with Covid-19 patients. Some have even faced the threat of physical assault.
This type of citizen behavior is not only completely unacceptable, but must invite severe government action against the APRs in question, some of which behave as sovereign and authoritarian republics. There are people who go to work selflessly so that those who stay home can remain safe. Hitting plates is not enough. Show gratitude in reality.