While there have been a number of instances of medical professionals being attacked or harassed across the country amid the coronavirus pandemic over fears that they may spread the infection, an incident in Bhopal has drawn widespread condemnation and shock.
Two doctors in the Madhya Pradesh capital have alleged that they were abused and assaulted by a group of policemen on Wednesday for "spreading coronavirus".
Yuvraj Singh and Rituparna Jana said they were on their way home from the Bhopal All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) around 7 pm when they were stopped by the policemen.
"We were returning home from emergency duty when we were stopped by a police patrol party. Despite showing our identity cards, the cops didn't only assault us with cops, but even abused us and blamed us for spreading coronavirus," Dr Jana said.
While Dr Singh suffered a fracture in his hand, Dr Jana sustained injuries on her leg. Both the doctors are post graduate resident doctors at the Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology at AIIMS-Bhopal.
Former Chief Minister Kamal Nath termed the incident "very shameful".
"The assault on two PG doctors of Bhopal AIIMS, including a female doctor, by policemen has come to the fore, which is very shameful. We are proud of these hard-working bravehearts serving the public, risking their lives in the times of the coronavirus crisis," he tweeted in Hindi.
"The government should immediately investigate this matter and take strict action against the culprits and issue instructions in the state that such incidents should not be repeated," he added.
Amid growing outrage over the incident, the police have taken Constable Sunil Naharia off patrol duty and ordered a probe into the incident.
On the same day in Delhi, two female doctors of the government-run Safdarjung Hospital were assaulted by a man in Gautam Nagar area when they were out to buy groceries. No one came forward to help them.
The Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) on Thursday wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, requesting increased protection for medical professionals.