Maharashtra radiologists to go on strike to protest colleague's arrest

Following the arrest of a Nanded-based radiologist for revealing the gender of a foetus, up to 1200 radiologists across the state are planning to down the shutters of their clinics on August 8 to protest against the high handedness of police authorities.

The Indian Radiology and Imaging Association (IRIA) is also planning to file a petition in the Bombay High Court to seek relief for Dr Gopal Battalwar, who they claim was arrested on wrongful grounds by the Nanded Police.

Dr Jignesh Thakkar, secretary of the Indian Radiology and Imaging Association (IRIA) said, “Dr Battalwar has been under arrest for over 10 days now and was wrongly arrested and detained under the IPC for conducting a miscarriage.”

Dr Battalwar has been booked for allegedly revealing the gender of the foetus to the expecting mather, Savita Ashture, on July 26 and that the foetus was aborted by a quack, Arifabi Begum. Both Battalwar and Begum were later arrested.

The association held that the case of Ashture who suffered from heavy vaginal bleeding on July 24 in Nanded Civil Hospital should be investigated by appropriate health authorities instead of making Dr Battalwar a soft target.

"Ashture had approached Dr Battalwar for an anomaly scan. He is practising medicine since the past sixteen years. Why would he have revealed the sex of the foetus to Ashture for a measly commission of Rs 2000?" said Dr Thakkar.

Doctors have also contended that Dr Battalwar's assistant Noorjehan who was hands-in-glove with the quack had revealed the sex of the unborn child to the parents.

Noorjehan is absconding and on the other hand they said that Dr Battalwar was innocent. "We are appalled at the fact that Dr Battalwar was arrested on stringent IPC charges without thorough investigation. Also, revealing sex of the child is punishable under Pre conception and pre natal diagnostics techniques (PCPNDT) act, charges of which have not been pressed against the doctor for lack of proof," said Dr Bhavin Jhankharia, President Elect at IRIA.

Doctors said that Dr Battalwar has been wrongfully arrested under IPC sections 312 (voluntarily causing a woman with child to miscarry), 315 (act done with intent to prevent child from being born alive) and 316 (causing death of unborn child by act amounting to culpable homicide).

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