Alappuzha: Kerala has been witnessing a series of attacks on COVID-19 warriors, especially those working in the healthcare sector.
The latest victim is Subina, a temporary nurse at Government TD Medical College, Alappuzha. She was brutally assaulted at night on Thottappally –Thrikkunnappuzha road here while returning home from duty.
Subina was lucky to have escaped with her life. However, she suffered severe injuries and is now undergoing treatment at Alappuzha Medical College Hospital. There are nail marks on her neck and she can hardly speak. Still, Subina recalls her horrible experience: “That day, my duty at the Alappuzha Medical College Hospital, located at Vandanam was over by 11.45 at night and I started for home in my scooter. I have been working as a temporary nurse at the hospital for the last seven years and had travelled home on my two-wheeler after night duty several times. But, this was my first such experience,” she says.
When she reached Kumarakody Junction, Subina realised that she was being followed by two men on a bike. She tried to speed away, but the men chased her. When Subina reached near the Pallana, she was hit on the head with a heavy object.
The scooter lost balance and she fell on the road. “My scooter rammed an electric post and came to a stop. I did not suffer a serious head injury only because I was wearing a helmet. The pillion rider then approached me and pulled me up by my hair,” she recalls.
Then the man shouted: “Give me your golden necklace.” His face was masked by a monkey cap while the rider was wearing a full-face helmet. So, Subina couldn’t see their faces.
Subina ran towards a wooded area nearby but the men gave a chase and caught up with her. They again pulled her hair and after noticing that she wore no necklace, examined Subina’s legs for anklets. Yet again, Subina pushed them away and ran.
She saw a few houses and rushed to a locked gate. A woman was speaking over the phone on the veranda of the house. “I pleaded with her for help. But, the woman did not respond. If she had alerted people, I would have been saved. As she did not help me, the men once more pulled me towards them. I cried and told them that I had no gold ornaments,” says Subina. As she was doing COVID duty, Subina avoided wearing gold to the hospital.
“Moreover, all my gold was pledged. I am allergic to jewellery made of artificial gold and so did not wear it too,” she explains.
Meanwhile, the men tightened their grip on Subina’s throat and lifted her onto their bike between them. She again pushed them and tried to escape. But one man kicked her on the back. “I thought they were going to kill me. I suddenly remembered the faces of my husband and two daughters,” she says.
However, a police patrol jeep came on the road, and seeing its headlamps the assailant left Subina and fled. “That saved my life,” says the shaken health worker.
Sick husband, young kids
Subina’s husband Navaz is a cancer patient. They have two daughters, 12-year-old Fida Fathima ad eight-year-old Farzana. Navaz is an auto driver but being under cancer treatment for the last several years, he cannot carry out heavy work. That has made Subina the main breadwinner of the family. “We have already spent lakhs of rupees for Ikka’s treatment,” says Subina.
On most days, Navaz used to wait for Subina at Thottappally along with their kids in his auto when she returned home after COVID duty. Their daughters even slept only after Subina reached home. But, on the particular day, he could not reach the spot as Subina’s duty was over earlier than usual.
After Subina was attacked, Navaz frantically rushed to the scene of the crime after receiving a phone call. “The assailants should be arrested as soon as possible. No one else should face such an attack,” he pleads.