Covid stigma triggers group clash in Odisha, 18 arrested by police

Updated on Jul 25, 2020 12:15 AM IST

There have been several instances of Covid stigma leading to social boycott in Odisha

Two groups of villagers clashed with each other over fears that a visitor may be Covid positive.(PTI Photo/Representative use)
Two groups of villagers clashed with each other over fears that a visitor may be Covid positive.(PTI Photo/Representative use)
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar | ByDebabrata Mohanty | Posted by Abhinav Sahay

The fear and apprehension over Covid-19 triggered a group clash in a village of Puri district today after a person from one village with a known positive case visited another village.

Puri SP Akhileswar Singh said a person from Nisibhanra village under Puri Sadar police station area had gone to Kachapashi village when the people of the latter village attacked him over suspicion that he was infected by Covid. A Covid case was recently detected at Nishibhanra village which fuelled such speculation triggering a group clash. Few country-made bombs were also hurled by people of the two villages.

In the clash, a person from Kachapashi village was injured and admitted to the Community Health Centre of Rebana village. Police later arrested 18 persons in connection with the group clash.

Odisha’s road accident fatalities declined by 65 per cent during lockdown

The fear and stigma over Covid infection has led to several such incidents in the state. Early this week, a man in Mayurbhanj district had to carry his father’s body on a bike to funeral ground after they were deserted over fears that the man had died of Covid. The 56-year-old man had earlier tested positive, but had recovered. When he was being taken to a private hospital in Bhubaneswar from Mayurbhanj in a rented car by his son, he died on the way. The car driver then fled with the car fearing that the man had died from Covid. As the man’s son could not find a hearse van, he put his father’s body on a motorcycle and brought it to the cremation ground for last rites.

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