HYDERABAD: In various parts of the city on Monday and Tuesday, immunization and health department officials faced opposition from Muslim residents when asked about residential details to administer polio shots, due to the fear of CAA and NRC.
Residents around Abids, Golconda, Musheerabagh accused health officials of supporting the Centre’s CAA and NRC plans and secretly collecting personal information under the garb of public welfare schemes. This affected the tallying process of how many children were actually immunized in the national pulse polio drive. Officials were heckled and intimidated with threats of police complaints, and local political leaders had to get involved to tackle the scuffle.
Speaking to Express, Dr Nagarjuna Rao, immunization programme officer for Hyderabad, said, “After booth-based vaccination are done, we usually head out for door-to-door campaign to cover high-risk areas, and children who may have missed out on the vaccination during booth-immunization. However, this year one of the major hurdles was when in some Muslim colonies people refused to answer questions. They seemed petrified, assuming we were collecting information for the NRC under the pretext of polio.”
The nature of questions range from how many households does the family have to how many children the family have under the age of five.
Another immunization officer, on the condition of anonymity said, “We were heckled, and shooed away with warnings of police complaints.” Dr Rao, further added, “The scuffle at one point got so intense that local leaders had to get involved. They calmed the residents down, and asked us to take action or file police complaints against the residents. We opted not to. With lakhs of houses to be covered, we do not have time to run out of police stations and courts. However, this has affected the tally of the number of children who got the immunization. There is a high chance that we missed out on children who did not get the polio vaccination.”