Journalists booked for report on elderly reaching hospital on cart
Madhya Pradesh police has booked three journalists after they reported how a man was forced to take his elderly father to the hospital on a handcart for 5 kilometers after allegedly getting no ambulance in Bhind district. The FIR against them calls their report "false and baseless", and they have been charged with cheating, promoting enmity between classes, and under sections of IT Act.
Why does this story matter?
- Recently similar incidents have been reported where people had to carry their family members on a bike, cot and other makeshift arrangements.
- The Madhya Pradesh government has been boasting about an increase in the number of ambulances.
- In April, MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had said that the number of ambulances in the state had risen from 1,445 to 2,052.
Daboh medical officer filed the case
As per the video report by journalists who were booked — Kunjbihari Kourav, Anil Sharma and NK Bhatele — Harikrishna Vishwakarma had borrowed his neighbor's phone to call for an ambulance but did not receive any help. The case was filed by Daboh's community health center's medical officer, Dr Rajiv Kourav. The incident took place in Lahar near Daboh town of Bhind district.
Officials say family didn't call for ambulance
A probe team formed by Bhind district magistrate after the incident claimed that the family hadn't made any call for an ambulance. They said that the elderly man, Gyan Prasad Vishwakarma, had been taken to a private hospital first, rather than the government hospital. They also called the claims by the journalists of the family not receiving benefits of government schemes as false.
Harikrishna says the report was not fake
ऊपर दिख रहे वीडियो में हरी सिंह अपने पिता को ठेले पर लेकर जा रहे हैं, वही हरी सिंह कह रहे हैं को खबर झूठी नही है।— Vishnukant (@vishnukant_7) August 20, 2022
हरी सिंह यह भी कह रहे हैं कि कोरे कागज़ पर पटवारी ने दस्तख़त कराया था। @digvijaya_28 @OfficeofSSC pic.twitter.com/OTwyQJeBk7
'Made to sign a blank paper'
Harikrishna's sister Pushpa said that the report by the journalists was true and they had got just one installment under PM Awas Yojna, while officials took pictures of his brother's house. Harikrishna alleged that officials had come to their house and made them sign a blank paper. Authorities have not yet responded to this claim.
Recent similar incidents from Madhya Pradesh
Cases of difficulty to access medical services have been frequent in Madhya Pradesh. Earlier this month in Anuppur, a man was forced to take his mother's body on his bike after he was denied a hearse. In June, a man carried his daughter's body home after failing to get an ambulance in Chhatarpur. Inner roads become inaccessible for the ambulances in the rainy season.