MADURAI: A senior orthopedic surgeon at the Government Rajaji Hospital here, who belongs to a Dalit community, has alleged caste-specific discrimination by his fellow doctors. V Pugalenthi, who heads the Department of Orthopedics Surgery at the hospital, has alleged that some colleagues belonging to Hindu upper castes are refusing to cooperate with him on a day-to-day basis and seeking to use him as a rubber stamp.
“I have been abused by my caste name. One professor in my department even called me an ‘untouchable Scheduled Caste dog’ and threatened that he will ensure that I was chucked out,” alleged Dr Pugalenthi.
The discrimination allegedly started when Dr Pugalenthi refused to entertain a request from the said doctor to make internal adjustments relating to jurisdiction of a few medical faculties in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. “Instead of requesting me to make the proposed changes, the doctor simply held out a letter typed out in my name and asked me to sign and forward it to the dean. I was taken back this and refused to recommend the proposal as it was against rules,” recalled the doctor.
Subsequently, the doctor mobilised other Caste Hindu colleagues and allegedly asked them not to cooperate with Dr Pugalenthi. “They began to resist my instructions at work and also failed to attend to their duties. When I confronted an assistant professor about this, he scream­ed at me saying, ‘We are not like you SC fellows’. The doctors also instigated patients to file complaints against me alleging that I was not treating them properly, prompting the dean to conduct an inquiry that revealed my innocence,” he said.
Moreover, the upper caste Hindu doctors have filed a complaint making various allegations against him with the Director of Medical Education. The surgeon has shot off a plea to the CM’s cell highlighting the discrimination he faced. When Express contacted the dean, Dr A Edwin Joe, he said the inquiry against Dr Pugalenthi was completed and the report has been sent to the Health Secretary and Director of Medical Education. “We will act on their directions,” he added.