Delhi govt hospital revokes order barring nurses from talking in Malayalam at work

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New Delhi, Jun 7 (PTI) In the face of criticism over a circular asking the nursing employees not to speak in Malayalam at work, the Delhi government-run G B Pant hospital on Sunday revoked the order and said strict action will be taken in the matter.

According to sources, the Delhi Health Department has issued a memo to Govind Ballabh Pant Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (GIPMER) in connection with the controversial circular.

'The circular, which was issued by the nursing superintendent, G B Pant Hospital, without any instruction or knowledge of the hospital administration and the Delhi government, stands withdrawn with immediate effect,' a new order issued by the Medical Director Dr Anil Agarwal read.

'The matter is being investigated and strict action will follow,' Dr Agarwal told PTI. A source said the health department has asked the hospital to 'explain why such an order was issued'.

The circular, issued on Saturday, read, 'A complaint has been received regarding Malayalam language being used for communication in working places in GIPMER. Whereas maximum patients and colleagues do not know this language and feel helpless causing a lot of inconvenience.' 'So, it is directed to all nursing personnel to use only Hindi and English for communication. Otherwise, serious action will be taken.' An official of the G B Pant nurses' association said there are around 850 nurses working at the hospital, of which around 400 are Malayali.

The association's president, Liladhar Ramchandani, claimed the circular was issued based on a complaint by a patient to a senior officer in the health department about the use of Malayalam language at the hospital. He added that 'the union disagrees with the wordings used in the circular'.

The circular invited criticism from the medical fraternity, political leaders and the public.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called for stopping language discrimination. Party leader Shashi Tharoor said the order was 'unacceptable, crude, offensive and a violation of the basic human rights of Indian citizens'.

Last year, the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences had also issued an order advising staff that regional languages should not be spoken on its premises. PTI GVS NSD