Social workers at the receiving end

They get beaten up by police while trying to help people affected by the lockdown

Social workers who were trying to help out people affected by the lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19 pandemic were beaten up near Toli Chowki and Shastripuram areas of the city. While Sajjad was beaten in the Shastripuram area, Syed Bilal was thrashed near the Toli Chowki flyover.

“We got information about people running out of rations; so our team went to distribute dry rations in Shastripuram area when Sajjad was attacked. Other members of our team faced similar problems in other areas of the city,” said Maria Tabbassum of Access Foundation and NGO. “Our people on the field did not know how to get passes. This is an emergency situation and we thought helping others should not be a problem but Sajjad got beaten up very badly,” said Ms. Tabbassum, showing images of welts on Sajjad’s arms and legs.

The police department has announced a system where e-commerce site vendors and those exempted under the essential services category can get passes. However, the information about the system to get the passes remains limited and there were glitches. One person who tried to access the pass got a message on the app: “We are not operational due to restrictions...”

“I was returning from Toli Chowki where my friend Arun gave me money for rations for food when the police attacked me at 2.30 p.m. I stopped but still they kept on beating me,” said Syed Bilal, who pools money and arranges food near the Maternity Hospital and Niloufer Hospital. “Many attenders and poor people near these hospitals need food now. I was trying to arrange that when I got beaten up like this,” said Mr. Bilal who said he is unable to sit or stand due to the pain.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 3:11:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/social-workers-at-the-receiving-end/article31176044.ece

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