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The Indian Medical Association (IMA)

The Indian Medical Practitioners Association (IMPA)


June 14, 2019

Months of constant bullying, harassment and casteist slurs that were hurled at Dr. Payal Tadvi by her seniors ultimately pushed her to take her own life on May 22. 

 

Her suicide has sent shock-waves across the country. And yet, this is regressive, shameful and a true reflection of the deeply-entrenched caste-driven society India is. 

 

But what is worse is that none of the faculty at BYL Nair Hospital, Mumbai where Dr. Tadvi, who belonged to a Tadvi Muslim Bhil Scheduled Tribe community, was pursuing her post-graduation did anything about the bullying despite a complaint being filed by the now deceased. 

 

As a matter of fact, the bullying got worse since Dr. Tadvi filed a complaint against the seniors Hema Ahuja, Ankita Khandelwal and Bhakti Mehare who harrassed Payal since December 2018. It’s a shame that the faculty didn’t take the necessary steps in time to prevent her from feeling absolutely helpless. 

 

The faculty needs to be held accountable for Dr. Tadvi’s suicide as much as the seniors who actively made caste-based remarks. 

 

The three seniors who are reported to have harassed Payal have been arrested and  booked under relevant provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the Anti-Ragging Act, the IT Act and Section 306 (abetment to suicide) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

 

In a recent report her suicide note seems to have gone missing or to have been deliberately destroyed. However, evidence is being gathered from her phone, and verbal statements by classmates and members of her family. 


In a global report released by Human Rights Watch -- Members of scheduled castes/tribes continue to face discrimination, exclusion and acts of communal violence despite proper police mechanisms. We must recall Rohith Vemula’s case who was also driven to commit suicide due to caste-discrimination.

 

We believe that the MARD is conducting a series of meetings with individuals, representatives from across the society and including organizations who are working against caste-based discrimination in medical and other edicational institutions.

 


However, this is alone will not solve the deeper crisis. We demand that the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and the
Indian Medical Practitioners Association (IMPA) recognises the gravity of the situation and takes serious steps to ensure these situations are eliminated altogether.

* Ensure there is a sensitisation of students from the so called upper caste backgrounds as a part of their induction so that they understand the purpose of the reservation, concepts of equality and fraternity and the biases and prejudices which they are inherantly carrying by virtue of being members of the privileged section of the society so that they own their privileges.


* A strong support system to help backward classes students to cope with the kinds of mental, emotional pressure students often experience due to caste discrimination when they come from varied social backgrounds.


If India truly wants to move forward as a developed country
, towards ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishvas’ as Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised, and ensure this is not merely lip-service we need to ensure justice is served.

 

Sources:
College Confirms Payal Tadvi Was Subjected to 'Extreme Harassment': The Wire

Dr Payal Tadvi suicide case : ‘No evidence to prove accused docs destroyed suicide note’: Mumbai Mirror

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