Kejriwal writes to PM Modi, seeks Bharat Ratna for Indian doctors

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New Delhi, July 4 (PTI) Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking the country's highest civilian award Bharat Ratna be given this year to all doctors, nurses and paramedics who served the people amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

It will be a true homage to doctors who lost their lives, he said.

In the letter to the prime minister, Kejriwal said this year's Bharat Ratna should be conferred upon doctors, nurses and paramedical staff.

“Many doctors and nurses sacrificed their lives fighting Corona. If we honour them with Bharat Ratna, then it will be a true tribute to them. Lakhs of doctors and nurses served people selflessly without worrying about their lives and families. There can be no other better way (than honouring them with Bharat Ratna) to thank and honour them,” he wrote in the letter in Hindi.

He also stressed that, if needed, necessary changes should be made in rules so that the medical community can be awarded the highest civilian award.

“If rules do not permit to confer Bharat Ratna on a group, then I request you to change rules. The entire country is grateful towards our doctors. Every citizen of the country will be happy if they (doctors) are honoured with Bharat Ratna,' Kejriwal appealed to the PM in the letter.

Earlier in the day, the chief minister also tweeted on the same matter. 'The 'Indian Doctor' should receive Bharat Ratna this year. 'Indian Doctor' means all doctors, nurses and paramedics. It will be a true homage to all martyred doctors. It will be an honour of those who have been serving without caring for their lives and families. The whole country will be glad with this,' Kejriwal said in a tweet in Hindi.

As many as 730 doctors have succumbed to coronavirus infection during the second wave, according to data available with the Indian Medical Association (IMA) in mid-June.

Bihar saw the maximum number of 115 deaths, followed by Delhi at 109, Uttar Pradesh 79, West Bengal 62, Rajasthan 43, Jharkhand 39, and Andhra Pradesh 38, the data showed.

According to the IMA, 748 doctors died in the first wave of the pandemic.

The chief minister also participated in a programme through video conferencing where he reiterated his request to honour the Indian medical fraternity with Bharat Ratna to “commemorate” their hard work and service during the pandemic.

“Giving Bharat Ratna to doctors and paramedics as a community will recognise the sacrifice of all the doctors and paramedic staff who had lost their lives on duty, along with paying homage to the departed souls,” he said.

The CM also highlighted the Delhi government's efforts to honour doctors and medical fraternity.

He said the Delhi government tried its best to fix the system as much as possible in their capacity pointing out that it gave Rs 1 crore as 'Samman Rashi' to the families of those doctors and frontline workers whose lives were lost in the pandemic.

'This is not a compensation but a way of thanking their service, and reinforcing that we care for them, the country stands with them, and the society stands with them,” Kejriwal said.

“A lot of doctors could not go to their homes after serving in COVID wards in order to protect their families from getting infected. To deal with this, we arranged for the best possible accommodations for them where they could stay while they were attending to COVID patients,” the CM added.

“I received an interesting message once. It read that all temples are shut during COVID because God is serving at hospitals wearing a white coat. It signifies the amount of love and respect doctors command.

'They (doctors) were not getting any special benefits, extra payments or promotions, they weren't getting anything in exchange. Yet, they all did their best because of their love for humanity. We salute all these brave doctors, nurses and paramedics,” Kejriwal added. PTI AKM VIT HDA HDA

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