MUMBAI: The Students Federation of India (SFI) and other student organisations staged vociferous protests against the recent suicide of a post-graduate woman medical student due to alleged casteist abuse in a Mumbai hospital and demanded stringent action against the culprits here on Monday.
This is the first time in Maharashtra that any post-graduate medico has taken the extreme step of ending her life after alleged harassment on grounds of her caste background, Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) General Secretary Dr. Deepak Mundhe told IANS.
"Since the past three-four years, we have seen increase in such comments against the students coming from the reserved categories, which is very unfortunate," Mundhe rued.
The SFI activists protested in various cities and outside the B. Y. L. Nair Hospital in Mumbai where Dr. Payal Tadvi hanged herself on May 22, said a spokesperson.
Based on preliminary investigations, the Agripada Police Station on Sunday registered offences against at least three senior women doctors for abetment to suicide, ragging, IT Act, Atrocities Act, among other charges, said an official.
In a fresh twist in the case, the three absconding accused medicos - Dr. Hema Ahuja, Dr. Bhakti Mehere, and Dr. Ankita Khandelwal - have written to MARD demanding a fair investigation and justice to them free of police or media pressure.
"Based on the findings of our preliminary enquiry, we have suspended them. Now, they have written to us seeking our help in this case. In view of the seriousness of matter, we shall now sensitise the reservations category students both in the junior and senior levels on such issues," Mundhe said.
Hailing from a Muslim tribal family of Jalgaon, Dr. Tadvi, 25, was a second year post-graduate student in obstetrics and gynaecology, and had earlier served in the tribal areas of Gadchiroli.
She and her family had in the past complained to the hospital authorities of the alleged ragging, taunting on her tribal status, not permitting her inside the operation theatre, posting derogatory messages on social media, and other forms of harassment by the three senior women doctors.
The three medicos were subsequently suspended by the hospital and an enquiry launched to probe whether Dr. Tadvi was a victim of ragging, casteist and professional harassment.
The hospital has also issued show-cause notices to the unit head Dr. S. D. Shirodkar and head of department Dr. Yi Ching Ling, in the matter.
Her husband, Salman Tadvi, is an assistant medical professor at the R. N. Cooper Hospital and they had married in 2016.
A social media campaign called #JusticeForPayal has also gained momentum in which prominent personalities from all over India have demanded justice for the deceased medico.
Dr. Tadvi's friends have appealed to the authorities to take stringent administrative and penal action against the accused trio for their acts which drove her to commit suicide and abruptly ended a budding medical career.