Accused write to MARD, seek fair investigation

The three absconding doctors booked in the suicide case of Dr. Payal Tadvi have written to the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) demanding a fair investigation. The letter signed by the three accused — Dr. Hema Ahuja, Dr. Bhakti Mehare and Dr. Ankita Khandelwal — from BYL Nair Hospital said the blame of Tadvi’s suicide should not be passed onto them just because the reason behind her drastic step is not known.

“You are all aware of the workload in residency and do you really believe that being burdened with work is ragging? If heavy workload is given in the name of ragging, then we all have been ragged or have ragged someone while performing basic duties,” the trio wrote.

They said it is injustice to simply blame them for Tadvi’s suicide. About the allegation of caste-based harassment, the doctors said, “Do you really think such allegations are true? Do we ever consider caste before treating patients? Do we make friends, listen to our seniors, juniors, and colleagues on the basis of caste? Are we really allotted work on the basis of our caste?” they asked.

MARD president Dr. Kalyani Dongre said the letter was sent to them on email. “We have responded to their email and have asked them to come forward to be part of the investigation and give their statements.”

The suicide has triggered a debate over caste discrimination and harassment in medical colleges. “Work pressure is intense in the public hospitals and due to this, seniors offloading their work on juniors is very common. At times, the pressure gets on to you and it does feel like harassment. But I have never faced casteist remarks from seniors or co-workers throughout my medical education,” said a third-year resident doctor from the ophthalmology department, BYL Nair Hospital, who has got through a reserved quota.

Another doctor from the medicine department said the shouting and harassment revolve mostly around work pressure. “The torture comes in the form of not getting enough time to have meals or take breaks,” he said.

However, many took to the social media to write about caste-based divide in medical colleges. One account cited an example of Goa Medical College where casteism from senior and fellow medicos towards reserved category students is a routine.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 11:48:07 PM |

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