A group of scientists were beaten up by a holiday mob in Dhoka soon after they made a public service announcement in the city's biggest shopping mall.
The thrust of the scientists' message had to do with the Covid-22 vaccination drive and what people had started doing in the immediate aftermath of being inoculated.
The mob that had gathered in front of the podium thinking that it was a raffle draw, started hurling brickbats when one of the scientists said everyone should continue wearing masks as the new normal is here to stay.
"The positivity rate had started going down even before the vaccination drive, because there was a wide prevalence of people wearing masks and avoiding crowded spaces -- which is still the best way to curb the spread of the disease," said one of the three scientists now in hospital.
"But soon after the vaccine drive began, people who were administered the shots started abandoning the masks and going to parties. Studies have shown that it takes at least three weeks for the vaccines to start taking effect, so there is no reason to go out willy nilly without masks or hygiene measures," the second scientist said. "Even after that period, it is best to still wear masks."
"Okay, that is all good, but when does the raffle draw start. And what are the prizes?" shouted a voice from among the crowd.
The third scientist, a fool who could not read the worsening agitation in the audience, said, "So if you people are not wearing masks and think you are magically immune, the inoculation will be of no use. The new normal is here to stay."
That set the mob off and they stormed the podium. Some who were wielding vaccination cards, lifted up the face shields of the scientists and coughed into their faces.
"I think it is an assault on our national pride to say the vaccination drive will be useless," said one angry mob member. "We have been doing much better than other more developed countries."
When this correspondent said that even the prime minister of the country -- who has been credited for the vaccination success -- said people should continue wearing masks post vaccination, the mob member said, "Yes, the PM was right and we are grateful for returning to the old normal."
He then gave this correspondent a big hug, screaming "old normal baby!!".
When the mob member saw the alarm on this correspondent's face, he said, "Relax man, I was vaccinated just today."