One accused gets arrested, all Dalit activists join protests in Mumbai Doctor suicide case

Mumbai – Mumbai Police on Tuesday arrested a resident doctor of a state-run hospital who is accused of abetting suicide of a junior colleague by constantly harassing her with caste related remarks and taunts.

Bhakti Mehere is one of the three resident doctors against whom an offence was registered after their junior Payal Tadvi (26) hanged herself in the hostel room on May 22.

However, the two other accused doctors – Ankita Khandelwal and Hema Ahuja – have requested anticipatory bail application before the session court in Mumbai.

Giriraj Mahajan, Maharashtra’s medical education minister confirmed that the evidences found in the anti-ragging report suggest that Tadvi committed suicide after casteist harassment.

Mahajan has assured that all the accused doctors will be arrested soon.

Activists from Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi and various Dalit organizations joined Tadvi’s mother Abida and Salman in a protest at BYL Nair hospital where Tadvi worked, demanding strictest action to be taken against the three senior doctors who abetted Tadvi to end her life.

Expressing solidarity with the protesters and with Tadvi’s family, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad said he would visit Maharashtra if needed to “fight for justice for our younger sister”.

The National Commission for Women sent a letter to the authorities of the BYL Nair Hospital to investigate throughly and take strict action in the case of Tadvi’s suicide.

The Maharashtra State Commission for Women has also taken issue too seriously by sending a court notice to the hospital authorities demanding a valid reply within eight days on the progress of implementation of anti-ragging law.

Tadvi’s father Salman said, “We want govt to intervene, police are not taking any action. It is possible Payal was murdered by the 3 women doctors.”

Tadvi, a second-year PG student of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, was found hanging in her hostel room that she shared with three other students on May 22. She was studying at the Topical National Medical College, attached with BYL Nair Hospital.

On Monday, the Head of the Gynaecology department, BYL Nair Hospital and the three PG resident doctors were suspended until further notice.

However, Dr R N Bharmal dean of BYL Nair Hospital has denied receiving any prior information on the case, while Tadvi’s mother Abida said that the family sent around three pleas to the hospital in a year to change their daughter’s unit since she was mentally harassed in the name of casteism. The family claims that their daughter’s death is a foregone conclusion.