The National Commission for Women on Monday wrote to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare asking it to conduct an immediate inquiry into the alleged suicide attempt by a doctor of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi due to caste and gender-based harassment, PTI reported. The commission also asked for details of an “action taken” report to be sent to it immediately.
The Resident Doctors’ Association of AIIMS had on Sunday written to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan alleging that the hospital administration had failed to take action against complaints of caste and gender-based harassment, India Today reported. The letter was written after a dental surgeon at AIIMS allegedly attempted to die by suicide following harassment by senior faculty members. The woman, who attempted the act on Friday, is in a critical condition in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
“We would like to bring to your kind notice a serious event of caste and gender based discrimination of a Senior Resident of CDER, AIIMS,” the letter to Vardhan said. “The Resident has made repeated appeals to the Department, the Director and also has been represented through RDA, AIIMS to the administration.”
The letter said that despite the surgeon’s three written complaints, no action was taken after which she attempted to die by suicide. The Resident Doctors’ Association said the woman had written to the Woman’s Grievance Cell, SC-ST Welfare Cell at AIIMS and the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, to no avail.
“The reluctant behaviour of the administration and the institute committee led the resident to take such an extreme step of inflicting self-harm,” the letter said. “Therefore, we appeal to the administration and the ministries concerned to expedite the process and address this injustice at the earliest. We look upon you for justice to prevail and to ensure that such actions do not happen again.”
The letter was also marked to the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, the AIIMS director and the National Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Aayog.
In May last year, Payal Tadvi, an Adivasi medical student, died by suicide after allegedly facing caste-based discrimination at BYL Nair Hospital in Mumbai. In December, the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission exonerated two former department heads in the case.