On the morning of May 9, Thejas and Sandeep were sitting at the helpdesk of panchayat volunteers in Peruvemba, a village near Chittur in Palakkad, when two men came running frantically. Thejas and Sandeep, two active members of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), recognised the men as belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the panchayat. The BJP men told them about a COVID-19 patient nearby who had fainted in his house, and who had to be taken to the hospital immediately. The fainted man was another active member of the BJP, 35-year-old Vibush.
Thejas (26) and Sandeep (29) went to the house and saw Vibush fallen on the doorstep of the house, his mother and wife in tears, and 15 other people watching them from outside. â€śThe women were crying but the people standing around the house were afraid to go near them. Vibushâ€™s brother in law, who runs an auto rickshaw, was also there. We told him we could bring Vibush in and he could drive but he said he was shivering all over with fear,â€ť Thejas says.
The two men knew it was left to them to act quickly. What place did political differences have in the face of humanity? They got Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) kits from their vehicle and tried to call an ambulance. The nearby ambulance was already on the run for another patient. The ambulance from the Palakkad district hospital would takea nother half hour to reach. Thejas and Sandeep didnâ€™t want to risk the delay. They called another DYFI member â€“ Suresh â€“ who was also a ward member in the panchayat. Suresh arrived with his Omni and took the patient in along with the two volunteers. They reached the Palakkad district hospital in half an hour and got Vibush admitted.
By 8.30 in the night Anjana, Vibeeshâ€™s wife, told them that he was conscious and eating food.
â€śI met him today (on Monday), the treatment started only this morning and he is given food and water through a tube. But he is not talking properly yet and is sleeping all the time,â€ť Anjana says.
Anjana had contested for the BJP in the last panchayat election, from the fifth ward of Peruvemba.
â€śIt was the DYFI volunteers who took chettan (Vibush) to the hospital,â€ť Anjana says.
All three DYFI men went into self-quarantine after this.