The world is battling a fast advancing pandemic – Covid-19 that is rapidly eroding countries’ economies and putting pressure on the medical facilities. What the world doesn’t need right now is an additional law and order problem.
Hygiene has never gained so much public attention as it has since the outbreak of novel coronavirus pandemic. Washing hands, covering mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing have gained a much bigger focus now than ever before. However, some miscreants instead of adopting these stringent measures to protect themselves are using it as a tool to terrorise others.
From the United States to Australia the world is in battling an increasingly shocking menace of spit attacks. New cases of spit attacks are being reported from many countries including India. In California, a woman reported that she was coughed on by a man after she asked him to maintain social distance.
However, the United States Justice Department has taken cognizance of the attacks and has said that anyone threatening or attempting to spread coronavirus could be charged under the countries anti-terrorism laws.
In a recent instance, in the United States, a person allegedly coughed purposely over $35,000 worth of goods. It is also rumoured that right-wing extremist groups were purposefully sending infected Covid-19 people to minority neighbourhoods.
In England, a 14-year-old boy was charged for allegedly coughing on someone intentionally while a 35-year-old man was charged with assault after he allegedly spat at three police officers.
In Australia, similar attacks have surfaced which are believed to be racially motivated. Another woman who was on her way to get tested for coronavirus infection is believed to have spat on a police officer after she was stopped for speeding.
In India, a 40-year-old-man was arrested after he spat on a woman from Manipur calling her coronavirus. Spitting poses health risks such as an increased rate of infection and all communicable diseases including covid-19 can be transferred by an infectious person to another.
India’s amendment to Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act is in line with the global practices that effectively deal with terror acts. According to the new law, the Government can designate a person as a terrorist and share the personal/financial information of the designated terrorists with western agencies.
The law allows an investigating agency to hold an accused for six months at a stretch without producing any evidence and allows the accused to be remanded to police custody for a period of 30 days. If the guilt is proven then the perpetrator may be sent to seven years in prison or imprisoned for life or maybe given a death sentence.
Inputs from Forbes