Dr Sudhakar, an anaesthetist from Andhra Pradesh who had complained last year that the state government failed to provide masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the staff who were treating COVID-19 patients, died due to cardiac arrest on Friday at the age of 52. Former Chief Minister and leader of the Opposition N Chandrababu Naidu termed his death as a “political murder.”
Last April, he complained about the lack of protective equipment. The video of this incident went viral. Subsequently, the state government suspended him. A month later, Dr Sudhakar was arrested by the Visakhapatnam police for creating a nuisance on the road. A shirtless Sudhakar stopped vehicles on the road in Akkayyapalem and created a ruckus using abusive words against Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy. The manner in which the police detained him, by physically assaulting and tying his arms, was severely criticised. Following this, a case against him was registered. He was also declared mentally ill. After the High Court's intervention, the Central Bureau of Investigation was directed to probe the police excess.
Following his death, Chandrababu Naidu said that the harassment by the Jagan government both physically and mentally led to the death of Sudhakar, who belongs to a Dalit community.
Stating that Jagan should take responsibility for the death, the Telugu Desam Party president said in a statement issued on Friday, “Jagan Mohan Reddy’s anti-Dalit actions led to the death of a Dalit doctor. His days of facing the consequences are nearing.” He demanded that the government give a compensation of Rs 1 crore to the deceased's family.
TDP general secretary Nara Lokesh alleged that Sudhakar was depressed after the government tormented him in various ways and “clipped his wings.” “This is not cardiac arrest. This is a murder for questioning the government.”
Condemning the action against him, the Indian Medical Association had demanded the government to withdraw the case against him and reinstate him.