A special court in Mumbai on Wednesday remanded three senior doctors, arrested in connection with the death of Dr Payal Tadvi, to police custody till May 31, PTI reported. Tadvi, who belonged to the Bhil Adivasi community, committed suicide on May 22 after allegedly facing casteist abuse from the accused at the Topiwala National Medical College in Mumbai where she worked.

The three doctors, Bhakti Mehere, Hema Ahuja and Ankita Khandelwal, were remanded in custody after the prosecution argued that they had to be interrogated to establish if they misplaced or destroyed a suicide note purportedly left by Tadvi. All three accused were arrested on Thursday.

The accused were charged under relevant sections of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1999, the Information Technology Act, and Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code, according to PTI.

The three doctors have denied the harassment charges in a letter to the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors, demanding a “fair inquiry”. “If heavy workload is given the name of ragging, then we all have been ragged,” the letter said, according to The Indian Express. MARD suspended the three doctors based on the findings of preliminary investigations.

The case

Preliminary investigation has revealed that Tadvi was scolded hours before her death in the operation theatre in front of other staff and patients and was seen crying, The Indian Express reported. Tadvi’s husband, Salman, has accused the three senior doctors of ragging and humiliating her.

The state health department’s anti-ragging committee has found prima facie evidence that Tadvi faced casteist abuse. A report submitted to the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences on Tuesday.

The accused had allegedly been harassing her since she joined the hospital in May 2018 to complete her post-graduation in gyanaecology.

Two protest rallies were taken out in Thane and Palghar in Maharashtra on Tuesday, demanding action against the accused.

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