26-year-old Mumbai Doctor Hangs Self Allegedly Over Casteist Slurs From Seniors

CNN-News18
Senior Doctors Bhakti Mehre, Ankita Khandelwal and Hema Ahuja, accused of tormenting 26-year-old Payal Tadvi with casteist slurs, were arrested on Tuesday.

Mumbai: A 26-year-old resident doctor at the government-run BYL Nair Hospital in Mumbai Central was found hanging at the premises on May 22, with her kin alleging that she committed suicide as she was harassed by her seniors with casteist remarks.

Abeda Tadvi, mother of victim Dr Payal Tadvi, alleged that her daughter’s complaints to her lecturers were ignored. “I spoke to her around 4pm that day and she told me that she was being mentally tortured. She had complained to me earlier as well and I had requested the lecturers to address the issue but they ignored it. I also tried to meet the dean, but I was not allowed. I want justice for my daughter. The medical registration of the girls who harassed my daughter should be suspended,” she said.

Payal, who hails from Jalgaon district of Maharashtra, joined the PG course in gynaecology at the Topiwala National Medical College, which is attached to the BYL Nair hospital on May 1, 2018. In December 2018, she informed her family about the harassment by her seniors.

Payal’s husband Dr Salman also complained to the department head about the harassment. “She first complained about the harassment in December. I met head of the department Dr Shirodkar. After this, Payal’s unit was changed for two months, but when she returned to the same unit after two months, the harassment continued.”

Three seniors, identified as Hema Ahuja, Bhakti Mehar and Ankita Khandelwal, have been accused of harassing and ragging Payal. However, none of them have been arrested yet.

Based on the complaint given by the victim’s mother, an FIR has been registered at the Agripada police station. “We are investigating the case. We have recovered few documents. We have registered an FIR against three of her seniors, under sections of atrocity Act, IT Act and anti-ragging Act along with IPC 306,” said a senior police officer at the Agripada police station.

Meanwhile, a parallel investigation is also being carried out by an anti-ragging committee, comprising doctors, police officials and NGO members. The committee is expected to submit its report by May 28.

Dean of the college Dr Ramesh Bharmal said, “A show-cause notice has been served to head of gynaecology department Dr SD Shirodkar and Payal’s unit head Dr Yi Ching Ling. They have been asked why they failed to take any action despite several complaints from Payal and her family.”

Organisations from the tribal community have planned a protest on May 28, demanding action against the doctors responsible for Payal’s suicide.