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Fearing false molestation alarm, Kashmir doctors seek live third eye in chambers

india Updated: Jun 09, 2014 16:18 IST
Peerzada Ashiq
Peerzada Ashiq
Hindustan Times
Kashmir valley

Increasing allegations of molestation by men in the white coat has doctors’ fraternity in Kashmir valley scrambling for the installation of a third eye 24/7 in their chambers.

Just five days after four top health department officials, including a block medical officer, a chief medical officer, an in-charge medical superintendent and a director, were accused of attempts to outrage modesty of a nurse in her thirties, it has sent a shiver down the spine of the medical fraternity.

“I am flooded by requests made by senior medical officers to install closed-circuit television (CCTvs) at their chambers. I am acknowledging the need,” said Kashmir health department director Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman.

In the past few years, the state’s medical fraternity reported increased number of allegations made against serving doctors in clinics and hospitals, including officers of the rank of medical superintendents.

It hit a low when state health minister Shabir Khan was accused by a female doctor of indecent remarks and sexual advancement at his office chamber, costing him his ministerial berth in February this year.

There is, however, a contrary opinion that has left the valley doctors a worried lot. Many believe new rape law gives an upper hand to woman and chances of motivated allegations cannot be ruled out in several cases.

“Things are dangerous these days. One false allegation and you are gone. And no one investigates before giving opinion,” said Dr Zaid Ahmad Wani, a psychiatrist working at the Government Medical College (GMC).

Many senior doctors are also pushing for some ground rules to make workplaces safer for women.

“There is a golden rule. Never meet a female if another female is not present. Never examine a female patient unless a female attendant is with her. But never forget that there are men who are mischievous,” said Dr Bashir Gaash, a retired doctor.

The fraternity of the GMC, which also houses state’s premier hospital Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital, is mulling installation of CCTvs at chambers.

“It’s a need of the hour,” said Dr Omar Kirmani, a leading radiologist at GMC.

The growing complaints of sexual harassment forced the health department in February to create a women grievance cell and barred visit of female employees to the state secretariat after office hours.

Past cases:

2010: A chief medical officer (CMO) was caught on camera while committing rape on a 30-year-old unemployed nurse at his office in south Kashmir.

2012: A doctor posted at the sub district in Kashmir’s Ganderbal district allegedly molested a female patient.

2013: A medical superintendent at the valley’s premier maternity hospital Lal Ded was accused of molestation by a junior doctor.

2014: State health minister was accused of molestation by a senior doctor.