Even as health workers across the world are being applauded for being the front warriors in the ongoing world war against coronavirus, some can make the life of health workers and professionals miserable. Dr Sanjibani Panigrahi is one such unfortunate medical professional who is being unduly harassed for being a doctor and working with COVID-19 positive patients.

Dr Sanjibani, a 34-year-old doctor with the government-run civil hospital in Surat in Gujarat, was first ridiculed as a carrier of corona positive by her insensitive apartment members. When she did not pay any heed to it, she was stopped to enter her own house. While she bravely carried on with her work, she was assaulted by a man. The brave doctor has now approached the police, filed a complained and is seeking protection from her neighbours who want her to leave the society.

The main accused is the Mehta family on the second floor of her society. Sanjibani, who has done her MD in psychiatry from Rajkot, has been living in the Rajhans Apartment on Adajan road for two years along with her husband, three-year-old son and a six-year-old dog.

Dr Sanjibani told Mirror that her problem began on March 23, a day after Gujarat lockdown came into force after she returned from work. “Men from the society were sitting near the gate and started passing comments on me. They shouted in unison that I should be shunted out of society,” she said. The doctor further added that she requested them that this is a time to fight against coronavirus and she was just doing her duty.

Dr Sanjibani told Mirror that her problem began on March 23, a day after Gujarat lockdown came into force after she returned from work. “Men from the society were sitting near the gate and started passing comments on me. They shouted in unison that I should be shunted out of society,” she said. The doctor further added that she requested them that this is a time to fight against coronavirus and she was just doing her duty.

The society members objected and alleged that she was suffering from coronavirus. Only after Surat local MLA Harsh Sanghavi intervened, she could go to her flat.

However, on her floor itself, a Mehta family got scared that she was carrying the dreaded virus and started fighting with her saying she should move out and not infect them.

Bhavna Mehta, who is Dr Sanjibani’s next-door-neighbour, started abusing her. Later, her husband tried to explain that his wife was taking all the necessary precautions. He was also shunted out of his house as a potential carrier of coronavirus.

“This has been going on since March 23. However, a day before yesterday, Chetan Mehta, the neighbour’s husband assaulted me,” she said. Dr Sanjibani has registered a police complaint now. However, the Mehtas have now twisted the tale and said, “We have no problem with Dr and her family. Our problem is with her dog and she has now taught the dog to bite us. We are scared of the dog and hence asked her to quit the society.” The Mehtas added, “Dr Panigrahi is lying, We don’t have a problem with her.”

Bhavna Mehta, who is Dr Sanjibani's next-door-neighbour said that their problem is with her dog and she has now taught the dog to bite them.

However, DR Panigrahi categorically told Mirror that she has been living in the society and the Mehtas as their neighbour for the last two years and they had never raised an issue about the dog. She said her dog (Tigu) is a well behaved and a member of her family.

Mirror spoke to Gujarat government and Home Minister Pradipsinh Jadeja assured that no doctor or health worker can be asked to vacate.

Dr Sanjibani said that her experience in Gujarat since last nine years has been great but now she is scared. She has been in Surat for the last two years and been living in Rajhans Campus since then. Her accommodation is on a rental basis. The house is owned by Mumbai- based Alok Kumar.

“Similar treatment was meted out to nurses in Pandesara area and I had to intervene in this Adajan area case of a doctor in Rajchandra complex. If any health practitioner in Surat faces any issue, they can contact me. If they are scared, I am ready to file a police complaint also on their behalf,” said Harsh Sanghvi, BJP MLA from Majura in Surat.

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