In yet another shocking incident of atrocities born out on a person with a disability, a 40- year -old deaf and mute man of Bishanpur village under Awagarh police station of Etah district was wrongfully sterilised.
Every now and then we read reports of inequitable behaviour and unruly manner towards people of disability but this incident is at par. However, many such cases don’t even get reported. In the recently reported case, a 40-year-old deaf and mute man was fetched from home by an Asha worker on the pretext of getting him vaccinated for Covid-19 on Sunday. But in the name of covid vaccination, the unmarried man was sterilised. After sterilising the man certified with 100% disability, the Asha worker dropped him midway to his home. However, the man who goes by the name Dhruv Kumar fell unconscious soon after returning home.
His family hurried him to the district hospital from where he was to SN Medical College in Agra on Sunday. What was revealed thereafter was appalling. According to a TOI report, “the Asha worker, Neelam Kumari, allegedly got the man sterilized to complete the target given to each block by the district health department ahead of the world population day on July 11.”
The worker was eyeing an incentive of Rs 400 for promoting sterilization. The disabled man’s life was baited for Rs 400. His right to choose was robbed for Rs 400. Well, the issue goes way beyond what we can perceive. The prejudice is so deep-rooted that the Asha worker was convinced that it is okay to sterilise the man without his consent and knowledge.
Does a person with disabilities have no right to their life? Or the abled people think that they are above on a pedestal? This case should make you reflect upon the hues of supremacy you display because this is one of the many inhumane cruelties wreaked upon the disabled. And this matter is equally grave and should be dealt with utmost seriousness.
Dhruv Kuman’s elder brother Ashok Kumar, who works as a labourer, said, “My wife and I are uneducated and do not know about the proceedings of the Covid-19 vaccination. On Sunday, Asha worker Neelam came to my house and asked for permission to take my disabled brother for the vaccination. She claimed that if my brother would go for vaccination along with her, he will be getting Rs 3,000 (the amount provided by the state government to a male member on sterilization). For the availing benefit of the government scheme, she asked for the bank passbook and Aadhaar card of my brother. She took my brother and after an hour left him on the way back home.” “I made a big mistake by trusting her and sending my brother with him. Instead of providing the Covid-19 vaccine, she got my brother sterilized. My brother was already weak. He fell unconscious after reaching home. We took him to the district hospital. There, doctors asked us to take him to the SN Medical College in Agra,” the victim’s brother said, according to a TOI report.
Etah chief medical officer Dr Umesh Tripathi said, “We have taken cognizance of an Asha worker allegedly getting an unmarried man sterilized on the pretext of Covid-19 vaccine. The entire matter is being investigated.”
Meanwhile, Etah police are yet to register an FIR based on the complaint filed by the victim’s brother. “A complaint has been received regarding the unlawful sterilization of a man. The matter has been brought to the notice of senior officials. It is an alleged case of medical negligence. Required action will be taken on the basis of the health department’s probe findings,” said Awagarh police station house officer Manvendra Tyagi, according to TOI.
The gravity of the issue is unlawful sterilization and taking undue advantage of a disabled man. It goes beyond medical negligence as the choices of a man were staked and taken for granted. The issue reflects how the abled society thinks of disabled people and treats them as lesser humans. I would leave you with a few questions to ponder upon. Did the Asha worker think that a deaf and mute man was an easy target? Would the worker ever dare to do something like this to an abled unmarried man? If this is not stigmatization then what is? Answer yourself.