Bombay High Court yesterday provided short-term respite to Sir JJ Hospital dean Dr TP Lahane, who has been accused of making a casteist remark about an on-contract sweeper, even as the strike by the institute’s temporary class IV workers entered its fifth day.
Dean of JJ Hospital Dr TP Lahane. File pic
The judge advised
Dr Lahane to approach the Sessions court by Thursday to file his application for anticipatory bail. An FIR was lodged against the dean on Friday at JJ Marg police station under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Naresh Waghela (35), the on-contract sweeper, has alleged that he was at the receiving end of a casteist slur by Dr Lahane.
The temporary class IV workers at the institute had gone on strike the previous morning, demanding to be made permanent. Following the alleged incident, the agitating employees claimed that their sentiments had been deeply hurt, and demanded that the dean either be transferred or suspended. More than 500 of them are currently part of the stir, and can be seen shouting slogans in the hospital premises.
Meanwhile, speaking to MiD DAY, Dr Lahane said that the charges levelled against him by the workers’ union were false, and denied that he was on the run for the last three days.
“I had filed for anticipatory bail with the High Court, and will approach the Sessions court after three days. I was not absconding and had recently left for Nashik, as I had a family function to attend.”
“I am a social worker and have worked hard for our patients. The allegations are completely false,” he added. While two to three witnesses to the episode have reportedly come forward, Dr Lahane said the CCTV footage reveals that they weren’t present in front of the OPD of the hospital, where the alleged incident took place, around 9 am on Friday.
On the other hand, the agitating workers say that they will continue with their strike unless their demands are met. “We have asked temporary class IV workers from other state-run hospitals to support us in our protest.
We have also approached the medical board to put forward our demands, and we don’t plan on backing down this time,” said a sweeper from the hospital. Despite attempts to contact Dr Pravin Shingare, head of Directorate of Medical Education and Research, he remained unavailable for comment.