12 detained for spreading polio rumours

SRINAGAR: Wailing parents carrying babies in their laps rushed to hospitals in whatever transport they could gather when rumour spread through the Indian Occupied Kashmir Valley on Sunday that children were dying after they were given anti-polio drops.

Terming the speedy spreading reports over pulse polio immunization as baseless, top health as well as administrative officials appealed people to not to pay attention to such things. He said around three doctors were beaten up at the hospital by angry people.

Like Beigh, thousands of anxious parents thronged hospitals for doctor advice. Some doctors reported being assaulted.

However, the assurances from health officials and doctors failed to pacify people, who until late kept on visiting hospitals and frantically calling newspaper offices and authorities. The lone children hospital – G B Panth, also witnessed a huge rush.

“We are trying to find out the source and will take legal action against the culprit”, he said. “The rumour had affected their psyche to such an extent that they were not ready to listen to doctors”. Some “trouble makers” used social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Whats App for false information that several children died due to the vaccines.

The health officials told people the vaccination program was safe and they should get their children immunized in the next two days.

They also strongly denied that expired polio drops were administered to children at any healthcare facility in the Valley as part of the Pulse Polio campaign on Sunday. Surprisingly in some areas, including in the city, repeated announcements were being made, asking people to take their children to hospital, who were given polio drops yesterday.

However, J&K Police spokesperson, he said, “Police are investigating the matter and are yet to identify, arrest any person”.

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