Even as one of the doctors accused of harassing Dr Payal Tadvi is detained and Minister Mahajan confirms casteist slurs, husband raises more questions
Dr Payal Tadvi's mother Abeda (centre) at the protest held on Tuesday outside Nair hospital. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Almost a week after Dr Payal Tadvi committed suicide, a state inquiry committee has confirmed she was indeed subjected to casteist slurs by her seniors. This was announced on Tuesday by State Medical Education Minister Girish Mahajan, who promised that the three accused would be arrested. Meanwhile, Dr Payal's family said during a protest outside Nair hospital yesterday, that considering the activities following the discovery of her body, it is possible the seniors hid the suicide note.
The accused doctors — Hema Ahuja, Ankita Khandelwal, and Bhakti Mehare have claimed in a letter that they were not involved in the ragging or harassment of Dr Payal, but investigations have found them to be guilty. Mahajan confirmed the inquiry's report, which has shown the deceased medico was subjected to targeted harassment and her seniors did make casteist remarks against her. The minister has promised her family the absconding doctors would arrested soon. "We have set up inquiry committee, which has found the three doctors at fault. As claimed by the family, she was subjected to casteist harassment. We won't let go of the culprits. They would be arrested soon," said Mahajan.
Dr Payal Tadvi's parents Salim and Abeda at the protest outside Nair hospital yesterday
Dr. Payal's family said at the protest that her suicide was equivalent to circumstantial murder. Explaining the allegations, her husband Dr. Salman Tadvi said there is a possibility that the accused trio removed her suicide letter while recovering her body, "When Payal wasn't answering their calls, they reached her room, broke down the door and recovered her body. After this, her room remained open for an hour even though it was a crime scene. There is a circumstantial possibility of the accused doctors removing her suicide letter when they found it because they knew they are at fault."
In addition to this, Dr. Salman said, there was almost an hour-long delay in resurrecting her after her body was discovered. "I was near Nair hospital when I received a call around 7.30 pm. I rushed to the hospital and gave her CPR but till then, there was no activity to revive her. So, the minute chances of her survival had also gone. If this is not murder then what is it? This is not just suicide," he added.
Several junior doctors from medical colleges like KEM, Sion, Cooper, JJ also gathered to demand justice for Dr. Payal. All of them refuted the three accused doctors' claim of Dr. Payal taking the extreme step due to work pressure. A junior medical student pursuing MBBS at KEM hospital said, "Dr. Payal had completed her MBBS and completed a year-long rural posting, which is considered hectic and pressurising. If she survived that, post-graduation is much easier; it can't break down a 26-year-old. When a doctor commits suicide, consider the amount of harassment she had to go through."