Horror Stories: Covid-19 Helplines

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(Trigger Warning – mentions of death of loved ones, hospitals, situations of helplessness and powerlessness, inappropriate language, online bullying and harassment.) 

The second wave of the coronavirus has been nothing less than a horror movie brought to life. A nationwide shortage of every possible medical equipment has converted the country into a living hell. With people dying on the doorways of hospitals due to lack of beds, ventilators, oxygen, carelessness, theft and whatnot. The millennials have shifted to the internet for refuge. With stories bombarding on every social media, many lives have been saved through mutual connections.

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But as every coin has two sides, these technological lifelines have yet again failed us in numerous ways. Here are two incidents that caught our eyes in the past week.

  • “TO MARR JAO NA”

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Lucknow resident Santosh Singh, a Covid patient, had contacted the government helpline. What happened next was beyond shocking for Singh. More shocking is that he got an apology call but no treatment.

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According to Singh, the couple tested positive for covid-19 on 12th April. Familiar with the UP government’s claim that a single call to the Covid-19 command centre can assist a patient, Santosh Kumar Singh called the helpline.

He received a call back at 8.14 am on April 15. In the phone call that lasted for 54 seconds, a representative of the UP government’s Covid-19 command centre asks Santosh Kumar Singh whether he has downloaded the home isolation app. When Singh told her they had not informed him about any such app, the representative said, “Mar Jao Na Jaa Kar. Gawar to tum ho hi.” (translation: Go die, you uncouth).

Singh then wrote a letter to the CM of Uttar Pradesh, addressing the incident. After which he received an apology call, but the helpline representative provided no treatment. He is currently being treated by his friends who are healthcare specialists.

  • Inappropriate pictures as a return to her plead for help.

The government has requested their Bal-Mitras (young volunteers) to request the elders in the house to stay at home during the second wave of coronavirus. A majority of the population has turned to social media for rescue. Similarly, Shasvathi Siva was looking for donors for plasma for the A+ blood group. Hence, Shasvathi’s friends suggested she share this request and her phone number on her Twitter handles with hashtags.

Within a few hours, her phone was bombarded with inappropriate nudes, horrific video calls, texts asking if she was single. Not to mention her Display Picture ended up with various inappropriate comments.

Here’s what she tweeted post this incident on her Twitter handle:

“Been looking for plasma donors, and my no. has been around in some groups + stories. I’ve fielded calls from men asking me if I’m single if I can share photos, my DP is nice etc, and 1 “friend” who said he’d help if ‘at least now you go on a date with me’ Some men are DISGUSTING”

Read more about the incidents at:

Story 1

https://www.businesstoday.in/current/economy-politics/marr-jao-na-ja-kar-says-helpline-operator-to-covid-19-patient-in-lucknow/story/436866.html

Story 2

https://newsable.asianetnews.com/entertainment/woman-shares-number-online-to-help-covid-19-victim-sadly-receives-private-part-pictures-in-return-shame-rcb-qrx0qz

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