Deccan Chronicle

Mumbai: Muslim-tribal doctor's suicide over casteist slur sparks stir

Deccan Chronicle| Vrushali Purandare

Published on: May 27, 2019 | Updated on: May 27, 2019

Women's commission seeks answers from hospital dean.

Doctor Payal Tadvi

Doctor Payal Tadvi

Mumbai: Protests by students and organisations over the suicide of 26-year-old postgraduate medical student Payal Tadvi — a Muslim from the Tadvi Bhil tribal community — due to alleged casteist abuse at Mumbai civic body-run BYL Nair Hospital are gaining momentum.

Amid the mounting outrage, the Maharashtra State Commission for Women on Monday asked the dean of the hospital, Ramesh Bharmal, to submit a report in the case mentioning whether or not the Anti-ragging Act was effectively implemented in the institution.

The report, which also seeks information on "lack of communication" between the administration and students, is to be submitted within eight days, the Commission said. Several groups such as the tribal organisation Akhil Bhartiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad (ABAVP), the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) and the All India Democratic Women’s Association and Just Associates (JASS) have staged protests at the hospital and demanded stringent action against the culprits. The Democratic Youth Federation of India, among other organisations, has called for a stir on Tuesday from the hospital to the police station.

It has been five days since the suicide and the police is yet to arrest the three accused doctors — Ankita Khandelwal, Hema Ahuja and Bhakti Mehare — who allegedly abetted her suicide.

Lucky Jadhav, a member of the ABAVP said the tragic incident has sparked public outrage against the deep-rooted casteism and discrimination against the dalits, bahujans and adivasis in Indian organisations across the country.

"Why has no action been taken against the accused? Seeking justice is our birthright and we have to protest against injustice. It is shameful that despite our strong Constitution, such instances still occur," he said.

Dr Kalyani Dongre, central president of the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), said, "We have protested in our campus, demanding the suspension of the head of the obstetrics and gynaecology unit, Dr Yi Ching Ling for not taking action when Dr Tadvi approached him with a complaint against the trio."

A social media campaign #JusticeForPayal has also seen prominent personalities demand justice for the deceased.

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