Published: 20th April 2020
She was told that she would never get anywhere because she's from a particular caste: Why an AIIMS resident attempted suicide
The victim whose situation is believed to be critical is under treatment in AIIMS' ICU. The RDA has written a letter to Dr Harsh Vardhan, alleging inaction
A resident doctor in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences has attempted suicide, allegedly owing to gender and caste-based discrimination by certain members of the faculty. The victim whose situation is believed to be critical is allegedly still in the AIIMS ICU.
The Resident Doctors' Association at India's premier medical colege has now written a letter to the Union Minister of Health Dr Harsh Vardhan stating that despite several complaints to the Women's Grievance Cell and SC/ST Cell, the administration never took adequate action against this. The victim had written three different letters to the administration, states the letter. The RDA has handed over its copies to the Delhi Police, says its President Dr Adarsh Pratap Singh.
"The reluctant behaviour of the administration and the institute committee led the resident to take such an extreme step of inflicting self-harm. Therefore, we appeal to the administration and concerned Ministries to expedite this process and address this injustice at the earliest," reads the letter by the RDA.
"This incident is only the tip of an iceberg. There have been several other incidents of caste-based discrimination in AIIMS, but these were not addressed," says Singh. "Casteist slurs were often yelled at this resident doctor by the faculty, many times. She was told that she cannot reach anywhere because she belongs to a particular caste," he says.
Interestingly, a 2007 study by a committee headed by the former UGC Chairman Sukhadeo Thorat says that, "Discrimination of residents of the SC/ST category is evident in a subtle and direct manner (in AIIMS)." It also quotes anecdotes of a few SC/ST residents from then, who were subject to discrimination. Today, 13 years down the line, the resident doctors suggest that not much has changed in the institute.
On May 22, 2019, Dr Payal Tadvi, a resident doctor at Mumbai's BYL Nair Hospital had committed suicide owing to caste-based discrimination. This incident had then created a lot of hue and cry.