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Health official stripped of Covid duty after quarantine poster at politician aide's home; Anil Vij orders probe

Health official stripped of Covid duty after quarantine poster at politician aides home; Anil Vij orders probe

The matter of a health official being stripped of COVID-19 duty charge after a "quarantine poster was pasted in front of the home of a top politician's aide" in Hisar has now turned into a political issue in Haryana with senior opposition leaders accusing the ruling dispensation of "threatening and victimising" those at the frontline duty.

Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij Tuesday ordered a probe into the matter even as Hisar's Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Yogesh Sharma claimed that the matter related to Dr Rajesh Punia has nothing to do with the politics.

This comes after Haryana Congress chief Kumari Selja and Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Singh Hooda took to Twitter to criticize the government.

"When the coronavirus warriors serve us by risking their lives, people from the power quarters threaten them and victimise (them) by stripping (them) of their charge," Selja said in a tweet. Echoing similar sentiments, another Congress leader, Kuldeep Bishnoi, demanded the restoration of Punia's Covid-related responsibilities. Deepender Hooda and Randeep Surjewala also termed the development as "unfortunate".

However, promising "protection of corona warriors' honour", Vij said, "An impartial probe will be conducted and the guilty will be punished. The corona warriors have a significant role in the fight against the virus."

Punia, a gazetted officer, works as a paramedical staffer in Hisar's government hospital. He works to contain the vector-borne diseases like malaria, dengue and swine flu. He was assigned COVID duties, which include putting a suspect under the quarantine process.

On Saturday night, the health officials had received a report that a local youth has been tested positive for coronavirus. He had returned to Hisar from Gurugram after staying there for three days. Following instructions from seniors, a team led by Punia rushed to his home situated in Hisar's Urban Estate to take his samples. On his mobile, the youth showed a report to the officials, which mentioned that his samples had tested negative for the virus. With the help of the police, the youth was taken to the government hospital. However, he was discharged from the hospital within hours.

"I had got up at 5 am to bring the suspect to the hospital but he returned to his home by 11 am by using political influence. I was also pressured that no quarantine poster be pasted in front of his home. But I could not endanger the lives of other residents. So my team pasted the quarantine poster in front of his house," said Punia in a Facebook post.

On Monday, the district health administration stripped Punia of his COVID duty charge. "He has been asked to look after malaria-related task, which is his original duty," the Hisar CMO told The Indian Express.

"The youth told us that the report in which he was shown positive for the coronavirus was wrong. When we accessed his report, the result was found negative. The test conducted by us also returned negative. That's why he was discharged from the hospital after two hours on Sunday. Strict quarantine is not necessary in his case but we have advised him to stay at home," the CMO said, adding they have also urged the deputy commissioner to get probed the matter especially regarding the discrepancies in the COVID reports of the youth.

(Inputs and image from

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