Three senior doctors of BYL Nair Hospital in Mumbai face a criminal case for abetment of suicide on Thursday after a post-graduate student at the hospital committed suicide by hanging herself at the college hostel on Wednesday.
The woman Payal Tadvi was harassed by the three doctors, who used casteist slurs against her, her family members alleged.
On the basis of a complaint lodged by Tadvi’s parents, the Agripada police have registered a case against Dr Hema Ahuja, Dr Bhakti Mehar and Dr Ankita Khandilwal under section 306 (abetment for suicide) of the Indian penal code (IPC), sections of the SC/ST Atrocities Act, Anti-Ragging Act and Information Technology Act, 2000.
According to the police, Tadvi was in her second-year of doctor of medicine (MD) at Nair Hospital. She was a native of Jalgaon and had completed her MBBS from Miraj, a city in the southern part of the state. Tadvi’s husband, Dr Salim Tadvi, worked as an assistant professor at Cooper Hospital in Mumbai.
“Tadvi had been complaining about three senior doctors at the hospital who were harassing her from a long time. She alleged that the doctors would not allow her to meet her husband or have food during working hours as she belonged to a lower caste. They also threatened her that she would not be able to complete her MD”, said Nilesh Tadvi, brother of the deceased.
However, the three doctors have denied the allegations. In a letter to a resident doctors’ association they said, “…If heavy workload is given the name of ragging, then we all have been ragged or ragging someone while performing our basic duties.”
The letter did not say whether the Association has received the letter or from where and how the trio sent it, a day after the police said they are on the run.
“We want the college to conduct a fair investigation to give justice. But this is not the way to do investigation through the police force and media pressure without listening to our side,” the trio said in the letter. Just because we don’t know the reason why suicide was committed, it is seriously an injustice to put the blame on us without any proper cause and leveling a charge of atrocity,” said the letter signed by the three doctors.
Senior police officer Deepak Kundal said an FIR has been filed and the three accused also face a case under a stringent law — which prohibits the offender to seek bail — to protect the to protect Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes from atrocities.
Abeda Tadvi, Payal Tadvi’s mother, has said, “Whenever I visited the hospital, I noticed that the three doctors would not allow my daughter to meet me. On Wednesday, at around 4pm, Tadvi gave me a call and started crying and narrated the harassment she was facing. I ensured her that we will visit her on Thursday and look for solutions to the problem.”
The hospital’s dean Ramesh Bharmal denied the allegations. He said the hospital has formed an anti-ragging committee and summoned the three doctors. “They are currently not in Mumbai. The committee will file its report as soon as possible,” the dean said.
Tadvi’s family further alleged that she was also harassed on a group that was made for doctors on WhatsApp. The doctors used to humiliate her on the group as she belonged to scheduled caste, they told ANI.