Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has ordered an inquiry by the Crime Investigation Department after a doctor accused the leaders of his YSR Congress Party of misbehaving with her in Chittoor district, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday. The state government has transferred the doctor to another centre.
The allegations were made by Dr Anitha Rani, a civil assistant surgeon, posted at the Penumuru Primary Healthcare Centre in the district. Rani alleged that local leaders of the party forced her not to assign any coronavirus duties to some of the staff members of the hospital.
Some workers at the hospital were reluctant to take up door-to-door visits for Covid-19 screenings and check-ups of senior citizens, unidentified officials told the newspaper. However, Rani insisted they must perform their duties and some of them approached the local YSRCP leaders to intervene in the matter.
“The YSRCP leaders are calling me on my personal mobile number... Some of these leaders abused me too, and warned of consequences if I do not follow their orders,” she told the newspaper. “They asked me how I got the government job and cast aspersions on my character.”
Rani also alleged that YSR Congress Party leaders – Ravi Kumar, Raj and Bharath – came to the hospital, threatened her and made casteist slurs, The New Indian Express reported. The police said that a case was registered under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act on March 22, when the incident took place.
“We investigated the incident based on her [Rani’s] complaint,” Chittoor Superintendent of Police S Senthil Kumar told The Indian Express. “Now that a CID inquiry has been ordered, we cannot share the details of our investigation.”
The officials of the District Medical and Health Department conducted a probe into Rani’s allegations and she was transferred to the office of the District Tuberculosis Control Department. Opposing her transfer, the doctor accused the senior officials of the health department of “supporting those who were obstructing her from performing her duties”. She also alleged that the police were not investigating the case properly.
The District Medical Health Officer M Penchalaiah, however, dismissed the allegations and said Rani’s behaviour with patients, legislators and the public was improper. “We earlier submitted a detailed report on her behaviour to the collector and other higher-ups,” he added. “Even senior officials in the districts she worked [with] earlier, submitted a report on her attitude to the Medical and Health department. After a departmental probe into the incident, we surrendered the civil assistant surgeon to the health department.”
In May, the police in Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh roughed up a doctor, tied his hands and dragged him on the road for allegedly creating nuisance and abusing the state government in an inebriated condition. The video of Dr K Sudhakar, bare-chested and being dragged on the street by a police constable, was shared widely on social media.
Sudhakar, an anesthesiologist at Narsipatnam Government Hospital, was suspended in April for accusing the government of not providing N95 masks and Personal Protective Equipment kits to the doctors on Covid-19 duty.