A female volunteer at a polio programme was assaulted by another woman in a housing society on Monday after the former knocked on her door twice to ask if there were kids in the family yet to be administered polio drops. Now, thousands of volunteers have decided to skip work if the police don’t take strict action against the attacker.
Shaila Bairde, 40, a resident of Nalasopara, visited Lotus housing society in Nalasopara (East) as part of the programme. When she reached the sixth floor she knocked on Savita Kaur’s door. After repeated knocking Kaur opened the door and started abusing Bairde and then assaulted her.
A volunteer from anganwadi, Bairde said, “When the woman opened the door, she started assaulting me. She kicked me and I fell on the ground.”
“We won’t administer the drops until the police take strict action against the woman,” Bairde added.
“We have booked Kaur under relevant sections of the IPC and have started a chapter case against her,” said Mukund Mahajan, senior inspector, Nalasopara police station.
Around 1,800 volunteers are part of the programme in the Vasai-Virar belt and the attack on Bairde has affected the programme in the region.
“We won’t work until the woman gets strict punishment for obstructing government work. We should be assured that we are safe when we conduct such social programmes. Until all this happens, we won’t administer polio drops,” said Sheetal Shah, a volunteer.
Sunil Wadkar, medical health officer, Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation, said, “We have sent a letter to the Nalasopara police stating that the woman should be dealt with strictly and booked under serious offences. If such things keep happening, the mission to free India from polio will be impossible.”