• Tribal Post-Graduate Medical Student Harassed, Commits Suicide

    Despite repeated complaints, the authorities did not take any action against those who harassed Dr Payal Tadvi for her tribal identity. This had depressed her, forcing her to take the extreme step.

    Amey Tirodkar

    May 27, 2019

    In the ragging and suicide case of Dr Payal Tadvi, who was a 26-year-old post graduate student at Nair Hospital, the Maharashtra government has formed a three-member committee to investigate the matter. Tadvi committed suicide on May 22 after facing continuous ragging from three senior doctors in her department- Dr Hema Ahuja, Dr Bhakti Mahere and Dr Ankita Khandelwal. According to the Mumbai Police, all three are absconding right now and have been booked under the anti-ragging as well as abetment to suicide (Section 306) sections.

    Tadvi was from a tribal community in Jalgaon, North Maharashtra, She was being harassed by the three accused for quite some time and had also made complaints against them to her head of department. But her complaint was ignored completely even after following up again and again. Her mother Abeda has given a statement that Tadvi had told her about the harassment she was facing at the hands of these three seniors, and  that she was being taunted for her tribal background.

    Tadvi’s husband Dr Salman too had talked to the head of the department, Dr Shirodkar about her harassment. "She had first complained to the head of the department in December 2018. Following this, her unit was changed for two months. But when she returned to her original unit, the harassment continued. This had shocked her," he said. Even her mother had also written a letter to the authorities for justice. But that letter too was ignored.

    Meanwhile, Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad, a tribal organisation, has given a call for protest on Tuesday, May 28. The members of the organisation will march from the hospital to the police station. Several other mass organisations including Students’ Federation of India, Democratic Youth Federation of India, All India Democratic Women’s Association and Just Associates (JASS) held protest at Nair hospital against the insensitivity of the administration. The unions jointly demanded action against the accused as well as the head of the department for not taking action at the right time.

    According to a report in the Mumbai Mirror, in a letter addressed to the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), the three accused have denied the allegations, saying that workload cannot be equated with ragging. Questioning the veracity of allegations of casteist slurs, they wrote, "Do we ever consider caste before treating patients? Do we make friends, listen to our senior-juniors and colleagues on the basis of caste? Are we really allotted work on basis of our caste?". The letter also included an appeal that they wanted an independent investigation to be carried out and justice for the victim as well, but they are being hounded without any cause.

    Tadvi had cleared the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) before getting admission in college. Some sources have also said that Tadvi was also harassed by the three accused in one of the WhatsApp groups, which had disturbed her deeply.


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