Over 1,000 Class IV workers of state-run hospitals in the city agitated against Dr T P Lahane, after a sweeper alleged that the dean had directed an offensive word at him, which offended Dalit sentiments
An FIR was lodged against Dr T P Lahane, the dean of state-run JJ Hospital yesterday, after a Class IV sweeper alleged that the dean had verbally abused him inside the premises of the hospital in Byculla.
Casting slurs: Workers protest at JJ Hospital against the dean’s alleged verbal abuse. Pic/Emmanuel Kharbhari
About 1,000 temporary Class IV workers from the state-run JJ, GT and Cama hospitals — including ward boys and sweepers — joined the strike after news spread of the incident. The hospital’s staff said that Lahane had directed an extremely offensive caste-based slur at the complainant Naresh Narayan Waghela (35), and the remark had hurt the sentiments of the hospital’s Dalit workers.
The incident took place in front of the Out Patient Department (OPD) of the hospital. Speaking to MiD DAY, Kishore Shelar, one of the ward boys who is supporting the strike, said, “We are very disturbed that the dean referred to our caste, and were forced to approach the police officials.
In the past, we have put up with being verbally abused, and sometimes even manhandled by hospital authorities. This incident has hurt us deeply. Though our initial demand was to be made permanent staff and be given salaries in accordance with the Sixth Pay Commission, our first demand now is to be treated equally by the dean, following this incident.”
While the temporary Class IV workers of the hospital had already gone on strike on Thursday morning, they intensified the agitation last morning, and were joined by 2,000 other Class IV workers from across Maharashtra, after the incident was reported to the police.
After police officials recorded statements from eyewitnesses on Friday afternoon, a case was registered in JJ Marg police station under Section 506 of the IPC (criminal intimidation) and sections 3 (1)(x) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, which is a cognisable and non-bailable offence.
“The investigations are in progress,” said S Surve, senior PI of JJ Marg police station. “We will take further steps against the dean after the investigations and other procedures are completed by the investigating officer,” said DCP Ravindra Shishwe (Zone I).
Crime and punishment
In relevant cases, section 3 (1)(x) of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, can be used to file a complaint against someone. The punishment under this section is imprisonment for not less than six months, and a fine. The section punishes the offender for intention, insults or intimidation with the intent to humiliate.
All of these are just allegations and there is no truth in them. Yes, an FIR has been registered, but I will apply for bail.
— Dr T P Lahane, dean of JJ Hospital