Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Friday ordered an inquiry after a senior medical officer in Mysuru district died by suicide allegedly due to severe work pressure, PTI reported.
The situation in Nanjangud taluk was tense after health officer SR Nagendra’s death on Thursday morning and the Karnataka State Medical Doctors Association has threatened to go on a strike if those responsible for the incident are not suspended.
The chief minister announced an ex-gratia of Rs 50 lakh for Nagendra’s family and assured that the inquiry will be completed in seven days. “Dr SR Nagendra has said he was committing suicide as he was frustrated due to the harassment by his superiors,” Yediyurappa told reporters in Bengaluru. “I will order a detailed inquiry into the matter to find out the truth behind the incident. Generally Rs 30 lakh is given to the doctors who die in line of duty but considering this as a special case, Rs 50 lakh will be given [to his family] and I have also decided to give a government job to anyone of the family.”
Doctors have accused Mysuru Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer Prashant Kumar Mishra of pressurising the doctor to meet targets of conducting coronavirus rapid antigen tests in Nanjangud taluk, according to News18. They alleged that the officer used to abuse Nagendra and he died as he was unable to take this humiliation beyond a point.
Reports said Nagendra played an important role in preventing the spread of the coronavirus. A doctor identified as Ravindra told Karnataka Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar to go through the attendance register. “Ever since the outbreak of coronavirus, Nagendra has not taken any leave,” he added. “He was staying alone for six months because he was afraid that his family may get the coronavirus.”
Health workers have demanded that Mishra should be suspended, arrested and charged with abetment of suicide.
An unidentified government doctor told News18 that they have decided to boycott work. “The virus could spread to the entire state,” she said. “Are these IAS officers above the law? Can they do the work we do? If he is not suspended and arrested, we will not return to work.”