KERALA

Vedi activists hold 'public trial' of doctor

The bribery-tainted gynaecologist, Jameela, being roughed up by Yuvajana Vedi activists in Kochi on Wednesday.

The bribery-tainted gynaecologist, Jameela, being roughed up by Yuvajana Vedi activists in Kochi on Wednesday.  

KOCHI MAY 29. At the end of a series of dramatic events at the Ernakulam General Hospital on Wednesday, the bribery-tainted gynaecologist, Jameela, was suspended by the Government two days ahead of her scheduled retirement.

The events unfurled with a group of Yuvajana Vedi activists rounding up Dr. Jameela in the hospital compound in the forenoon and staging a `public trial' of her. As the trial continued, a physical clash between the doctor and the Vedi activists ensued. This led to a flash strike by the hospital staff, the arrest of the Vedi activists and culminated in the doctor's suspension in the evening.

During the `public trial', the Vedi activists, mostly women, held the doctor down and forcibly adorned her with a garland of footwear and shouted slogans.

The `punishment' was for Dr. Jameela's alleged demand of bribe from patients, particularly those admitted for delivery. A couple of weeks back, she had been locked up in the hospital by the irate relatives of a pregnant woman for allegedly demanding Rs. 2,000 to attend on the woman's childbirth. This had snowballed into a row and the Government had ordered a Vigilance probe against the gynaecologist.

While the public trial was going on in the forenoon, the doctor had reportedly turned violent and had spat on the faces of the protestors. She also hit a woman protestor with a soda bottle. Following this, the doctor was beaten up by the protestors. However, hospital staff alleged that the Vedi activists had tried to strangulate the doctor, hurled abuses at her and also pulled off her sari.

At this point, the hospital superintendent, Sushama, called in the police.

Dr. Sushama told The Hindu that even after the arrival of the police and the intervention of the women constables, the women activists clung to the doctor's neck and shoulders and refused to let her off.

As the doctor was still being held hostage, the entire hospital staff held an emergency meeting and announced a flash strike. They kept off work and took out a protest march denouncing the harassment of the doctor.

However, the strike was called off later at the intervention of the City Police Commissioner who assured the hospital staff of strict action against the acitivists. Fifteen Yuvajana Vedi activists, 10 of them women, were arrested. They were later remanded.

Later in the afternoon, the Government placed Dr. Jameela under suspension. She was scheduled to retire from service on May 31. The Health Minister, P. Sankaran, told The Hindu that Dr. Jameela was suspended on the basis of the report of the Vigilance inquiry into the incident at the hospital a few days ago.

Meanwhile, the State committee of the Yuvajana Vedi hailed the "public trial'' of Dr. Jameela by its workers.

In a statement in Thiruvananthapuram today, the committee criticised the Government for putting those behind the incident in the lock up instead of producing them before court.

The workers of the Vedi also took out a torch light procession to the Secretariat in support of the Ernakulam incident.

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