The Centre has appointed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad National President Dr Subbiah Shanmugam as a board member of the upcoming All India Institute of Medical Sciences project at Thoppur in Madurai, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday.

Shanmugam had been in the news in July after a 60-year-old woman in Chennai had accused him of harassing her. The two had a disagreement over parking slots at a housing society in Nanganallur area. Shanmugam had been temporarily using the woman’s parking slot. The matter escalated when she had asked for a monthly rent of Rs 1,500 for using her space.

In the complaint dated July 11, the woman’s nephew alleged that Shanmugam, who is the chief of Surgical Oncology at the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital and Government Hospital at Royapettah, had urinated at her doorstep and thrown used face masks and garbage.

The woman’s family had submitted a video clip that purportedly shows the ABVP leader throwing garbage and urinating at her door. Shanmugam had denied all allegations and claimed that the video had been doctored. He admitted that he temporarily used the woman’s parking space, but claimed that he found another area later.

The ABVP, the student wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party, also denied all the charges and had threatened “libelous” legal action against the woman’s family. Days later, the family withdrew their complaint.

Politicians criticise appointment

Politicians in Tamil Nadu expressed their disappointment over the ABVP leader’s appointment to the medical board of AIIMS. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Kanimozhi accused the BJP of endorsing indecent behaviour. “Is this an endorsement of indecent behaviour and also an incentive for other BJP cadres to follow suit,” she asked in a tweet.

Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi leader and Member of Parliament from Tamil Nadu’s Villupuram D Ravikumar said this was an insult to women. “Appointing an accused in a case involving women’s harassment as a member of AIIMS, Madurai. Isn’t this insulting women?” he tweeted in Tamil.

Congress MP Jothimani said Shanmugam’s appointment denigrates women and the medical profession, while party MP MP Manickam Tagore requested Union Health Minister Amit Shah to withdraw his appointment.