The Mumbai Police arrested two doctors in connection with the death of Dr Payal Tadvi on Tuesday night, ANI reported. Tadvi, who was from Jalgaon in Maharashtra and belonged to the Bhil Adivasi community, committed suicide on May 22 after allegedly facing casteist abuse from three senior doctors at the hospital in Mumbai where she worked. With these arrests, all three accused are now in police custody.
Dr Hema Ahuja, Dr Ankita Khandelwal and Dr Bhakti Mehere have been charged under the Atrocities Act, the Anti-Ragging Act, the IT Act and Section 306 (abetment to suicide) of the Indian Penal Code, reported NDTV. Earlier in the day, the accused, who were absconding, moved a sessions court in Mumbai seeking anticipatory bail. According to media reports, the bail plea will be heard on Wednesday.
The three arrested are accused of harassing Tadvi when she joined Topiwala National Medical College in May 2018 to pursue post-graduation in gynaecology. She committed suicide at Nair hospital, which is attached to the Topiwala National Medical College.
Tadvi’s husband accused the three of ragging her and humiliating her. “She was picked on for being lower caste and was ragged quite a bit by her seniors,” Salman told NDTV. “The seniors said they will not let her study. They used to humiliate her on WhatsApp too.”
Salman said he wants the government to intervene. “The police are not taking any action,” he alleged. “It is possible that Payal was murdered by the three women doctors.”
The anti-ragging committee of the state health department has found prima facie evidence that Tadvi faced casteist abuse, reported the Hindustan Times. The committee submitted its report to the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences on Tuesday.
“The investigations are over and the report proves involvement of the three doctors,” said Medical Education Minister Girish Mahajan. A five-member committee of senior professors from Maharashtra University of Health Sciences will analyse the anti-ragging committee’s report to decide the quantum of punishment against the accused.
The three doctors had written to the state Association of Resident Doctors demanding a “fair inquiry”. “Based on the findings of our preliminary inquiry, we have suspended them,” said the association’s General Secretary Dr Deepak Mundhe. “Now, they have written to us seeking our help in this case. In view of the seriousness of matter, we shall now sensitise the reservations category students both in the junior and senior levels on such issues.”
Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women took suo motu cognisance of the case and issued a notice to the director of the hospital to investigate the matter and submit an action-taken report. The state women’s commission has also served a notice to the hospital and demanded a reply within eight days, according to NDTV.