When fears of infection denied them access to homes

Despite readiness to go on quarantine, family from Bengaluru stopped from entering apartment premises

While driving his way back home with family to Kochi with a lockdown imminent, Promy Gangadharan, a lawyer settled in Bengaluru, never anticipated the kind of reception that awaited him.

With news of long queue of vehicles at Walayar, he had taken the route along Mysore, Bandipur Tiger Reserve, and Nadughani Ghat Road to enter Malappuram before reaching his wife’s vacant apartment in the heart of the city last Saturday around 1 a.m.

Though his father-in-law had arranged for the caretaker to leave the gate open, it remained closed when the family reached.

“It emerged that the caretaker had shared news of our arrival with the residents’ association who flatly denied us entry into our own apartment alleging that the virus infection was widespread in Bengaluru. This was despite our four-member family willing to go on self-quarantine,” said Mr. Gangadharan.

Fortunately, his sister was staying at Thripunithura where the family now remains in quarantine. “I was fortunate to have such an alternative arrangement to fall back on. But what if it had happened to someone without that luxury. Where would they have gone with two young daughters in those odd hours,” he wondered.

Mr. Gangadharan fleetingly toyed with the idea of lodging a police complaint against the residents’ association and entering the apartment ignoring objection but eventually dropped the idea. Going by reports, this was not an isolated incident, with its many variants being played out in various parts of the district.

“We have come across a few incidents in which women were denied entry into their homes, including one in which a man turned away his wife who works as a housemaid for fear of getting infected. We contacted the police who in turn got in touch with the family where she works and ensured that none in the family had COVID-19 symptoms, following which her husband let her in,” said M.S. Deepa, Women Protection Officer, Ernakulam.

In another incident, a woman security guard in the city was told by her parents not to return to their home in Kottayam owing to similar fears. She is now being accommodated at her workplace.

“We are capable of arranging alternative accommodation for such stranded women as we cannot possibly lodge them in our shelter homes as that will endanger residents,” Ms. Deepa said.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 9:59:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/when-fears-of-infection-denied-them-access-to-homes/article31195771.ece

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