15 April 2020: The coronavirus patients and suspected cases at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, where 1,200 beds have been set aside for COVID-19, have been segregated into wards depending on their faith. While Medical Superintendent Dr Gunvant H Rathod said a ward for Hindu patients and another for Muslim patients had been created as per a State government's decision, Deputy Chief Minister and Health Minister Nitin Patel denied any knowledge of it. Dr Rathod said, “Generally, there are separate wards for male and female patients. But here, we have made separate wards for Hindu and Muslim patients.” On being asked the reason for such a segregation, Dr Rathod said, “It is a decision of the government and you can ask them.” As per hospitalization protocol, a suspected COVID-19 case is kept in a separate ward from those confirmed, as long as the test results are pending. As many as 150 of the 186 people admitted in the hospital for coronavirus are positive. According to sources in the hospital, at least 40 of the 150 are Muslims. A patient told: “On Sunday night, the names of 28 men admitted in the first ward (A-4) were called out. We were then shifted to another ward (C-4). While we were not told why we were being shifted, all the names that were called out belonged to one community. We spoke to one staff member in our ward today, and he said this had been done for ‘the comfort of both communities’.”
According to a doctor quoted in another report by The Hindu newspaper, "Certain patients from the majority community were not comfortable being in the same ward with patients of the minority community."
"After some patients complained, it was decided to segregate them on temporary basis," the doctor told the newspaper on condition of anonymity.
When Ahmedabad-based sociologist Ghanashyam Shah was asked by Al Jazeera if the hospital segregating patients according to their religion amounted to apartheid, he replied, "Absolutely."
"Knowing Gujarat, I am not surprised it has happened," he said. "It is a very obvious kind of thing. The fake news propaganda around Muslims spreading the virus is probably rampant across India. But I can see it is visible in Gujarat."