Amaravati: Guntur district collector I Samuel was in for severe criticism from netizens for losing cool at a doctor who brought serious issues concerning Covid-19 treatment to his notice. One of the comments reads, “Abolish the IAS. They are doing more harm than good.”

Many people have tweeted demanding action against the collector. Many even sought the IAS Officers’ Association to respond. On the other hand, Dr Somla Naik, the Covid-19 front line warrior, is flooded with sympathy and solidarity calls.

Reluctant to allow an administrative issue to be politicised, Dr Naik chose to go on leave for a couple of days. “I am just a doctor. I have no intention of crusading anything. I don’t want or like the interference of political parties and other organisations. To avoid all this, I took leave for a couple of days,” Dr Somla Naik told Mirror.

It may be mentioned that the collector ordered the police to arrest Naik under sections of Disaster Management Act for questioning his authority at a Covid-19 review meeting on Thursday. Naik spoke about the lack of facilities such as beds to treat Covid-19 patients. The collector asked him if he had brought it to the notice of authorities. He replied that he had shared the information on official WhatsApp groups.

“The collector suddenly became angry and directed the district medical and health officer (DMHO) to suspend me. It pained me. I questioned who he was to suspend me for talking about problems faced by doctors and patients. He became angry and directed the police to arrest me. It is a great insult to me before my fellow doctors and medical professionals,” Naik shared.

Naik has put in 16 years of service during which he received three awards from the DMHO. He has handled 410 Covid-19 positive patients during the current pandemic. Of them, 270 were discharged and out of the remaining 140, 65 are in quarantine centres. He personally monitors every patient.

His statement “How can I have food without giving what I am supposed to give to my patients?” speaks of his commitment to the profession.

The Andhra Pradesh government doctors’ association stood by its member, Dr Somla. Association president Dr. Jayadheer said the authorities can issue enquiries if there are lapses on part of a doctor but should not exercise magisterial powers to arrest. Dr Somla Naik was taken to the local deputy superintendent of police but was released without any case late on Thursday night.

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