Protesting students at Bhopal’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) sprayed black ink on Union health minister JP Nadda on Saturday, underlining growing anger over poor infrastructure and dismal facilities 13 years after the campus was inaugurated.
Nadda’s white kurta was left with black blots after an unidentified protester sprayed ink when the minister was about to get into his vehicle after completing his visit.
The incident came months after Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal faced a similar attack when a woman threw ink at him during an official function.
Nadda was immediately whisked out of the campus.
Two third-year MBBS students -- identified as Anjali Krishna and Ijha Pandey -- sustained minor injuries when security personnel allegedly shoved them to stop protesters from moving towards the minister.
Police used force to stop a group of 50-odd medical students who tried to block the minister’s cavalcade, eye-witnesses said.
Nadda, the fourth Union health minister to visit the institute in 13 years, inaugurated five facilities at the hospital, including two new wards, blood bank storage and a maternity ward.
But students said despite the high-profile visits, little had changed inside the campus.
One of the placards carried by the protesters read, “Waiting for development. Waiting for next politician to arrive”.
Protesting students said they were suffering due to government’s failure to appoint a permanent director, administrative staff and faculties besides the lack of functional departments.
“When we’re protesting for our rightful demands, our voice is being quelled…the dean had tried to send us back to ours hostel but who will hear us,” a third-year student said.
Nadda, however, said any decision taken in hurry could prove costly to the institute, turning to poetry to drive home his point, “Lamho ne khata ki, sadiyon ne saza payi.”
“AIIMS Bhopal has seen many ups and downs but nothing gets built in a day. Continuous efforts are being made. When we decided to replicate AIIMS, Delhi in other cities we were told it cannot be replicated and that’s the reason we will not compromise on quality in any condition. It took Delhi AIIMS as many as 25 -26 years to be fully functional , how can Bhopal develop so soon?” he said.
The dean of the institute, Balalkrishnan S, refused to comment on the students’ protest saying he was “not authorised to talk about it”.
State BJP spokesperson Deepak Vijayvargiya was critical of the students saying “they have sent a very bad message”.