THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Social media posts denouncing the violent protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) on Facebook have cost a Malayali doctor employed in Doha dear.
Dr Ajith Sreedharan, a native of Karunagapilly in Kollam and an orthopaedic specialist with over 30 years of experience, was employed at Naseem Healthcare LLC in Qatar for the past 11 years.
He was first targeted on social media when he supported the Supreme Court order that made it optional for cinema halls to play the 52-second national anthem before every show last year. But he managed to survive the online attack and went ahead with his professional career, despite the cyberbullying.
However, he was not spared this time. Little did he know of the hefty price he would have to pay for denouncing the protests against the CAA. His post stated that the stir is aimed at bringing down the Modi government rather than protecting the interests of Indian citizens. Soon after his post, trolling and cyberbullying touched a peak. If this wasn't enough, a section of netizens gave a call to boycott the hospital where Sreedharan was employed.
"The hospital authorities didn’t ask me anything related to the post. But when the issue was aggravated to the proportion of boycotting the hospital by a section, I decided to put in my papers as I was one of the founding members of the hospital. Anything that harms the reputation of the firm that was nurtured by our sweat and blood can’t be overlooked. So I decided to put in my papers and flew back to Kollam on Saturday. The management of the hospital, who were also Malayalees from North Kerala, never asked me to do so. It was my decision. But had I been employed by a Qatar national, the people who called for boycotting the hospital would be behind bars by now," he said.
A former SFI supporter who claimed to be a Left sympathizer, 55-year-old Ajith used to comment regularly on political developments in the country. "My comments on some national issues have even annoyed my Left friends as well. And at one point in time, I was branded as a Sanghi supporter by a section. But I am not a blind supporter of any political ideologies in the country and my opinion whether it is supportive or not is purely issue-based. I can’t remain a mute spectator when my country is on the boil," he said.
Ajith graduated from the Alappuzha Medical College. His wife is also a doctor in Kerala and their son is also studying medicine. "I have not decided whether to go back to Doha or continue my practice here, but wherever I am working, I will fearlessly express my views as a law-abiding citizen," he said.