One of the three doctors accused of abetting the suicide of a junior doctor at the BYL Nair Hospital in Mumbai has been arrested.
Bhakti Mehre, who was one of the seniors working at the hospital, was on the run after 26-year-old Payal Tadvi committed suicide on Wednesday.
Dr Tadvi, a junior gynecologist at the hospital, committed suicide on May 22.
Her husband Salman and mother Abida Salim have demanded “strictest action” against the three women doctors. The husband has alleged the three doctors had ragged and humiliated her on WhatsApp, using casteist slurs.
The family has alleged she was taunted as she belonged to a Scheduled Tribe.
“She was picked on for being lower caste and was ragged quite a bit by her seniors. The seniors said they will not let her study. They used to humiliate her on WhatsApp too,” her husband Salman told NDTV.
“We want the government to intervene. The police are not taking any action. It is possible that Payal was murdered by the three women doctors,” Mr Salman said.
While her mother Abida claimed that the seniors used to harass her for petty issues.
“Payal used to tell me about the torture which she was facing by her seniors on petty issues. They threw files on her face in front of patients”, she said.
Ms Abida further said that Payal warned her against complaining against her seniors as it would have adversely impacted her career.
While the three accused women doctors told an association of resident doctors in a letter that they be given a “fair probe” and asked the body to “give justice” to them.
“This is not the way to do an investigation through police force and media pressure, without hearing our side,” the three doctors said in the letter to the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD).
The resident doctors’ association has suspended the three doctors. A senior official from the association said that they had credible inputs over the allegations against the three doctors and assured full co-operation with the police over the matter, according to sources.
Protestors, including the parents of Dr Tadvi, staged a demonstration outside the hospital, which was attended by members of Dalit and tribal organisations, including the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi.
Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad also expressed solidarity with the protestors, saying he would visit Maharashtra if needed to “fight for justice for our younger sister”.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) has requested the director of the hospital for an investigation and to inform the commission of action taken.
The state women’s commission has also served a notice to the hospital, demanding a reply from the authorities within eight days.
The three doctors were charged under the Atrocities Act, the Anti-Ragging Act and the IT Act and Section 306 (abetment to suicide) of the Indian Penal Code.