Mumbai medico killed herself over casteist slurs by seniors, says mother
Ten days before Payal Tadvi, a second-year gynaecology student from BYL Nair Hospital, committed suicide, her mother had written to the dean of the institute, she has claimed.
In the letter, she said three senior medical students were harassing her daughter and would be responsible if Tadvi was to harm herself. However, the dean has denied receiving such a letter.
On Wednesday, Tadvi’s body was found hanging from the ceiling in her hostel room. On Thursday, the Agripada police registered a case against the three students for abetment of suicide.
After claims by Tadvi’s family that she was being harassed for belonging to a lower caste, Dr Hema Ahuja, Dr Bhakti Mehar and Dr Ankita Khandilwal were booked under relevant sections of the IPC, SC/ST Atrocities Act, Anti-Ragging Act and Information Technology Act, 2000.
“On May 10, my daughter called me. She was crying and told me about the harassment she had been facing. I was rattled and wrote a complaint the same night. On May 13, I went to the dean to hand over the letter but we were not allowed to go in,” the mother said. “Instead, we were asked to meet Dr Yi Ching Ling [professor in the gynaecology department]. Dr Ling kept speaking loudly in English, which I couldn’t understand.”
The victim’s mother is a cancer survivor and had been admitted to Nair Hospital from October to December 2018. “At the time, I wasn’t even allowed to meet my daughter. Whenever I went to her unit, she was forced to work. There were times when she didn’t bathe for over four to five days at a stretch, which led to a lot of health issues,” she said.
Dr Ramesh Bharmal, dean at BYL Nair Hospital, said they had not received a verbal or written intimation of the incident. “Had I even got a wind of it, I would have immediately initiated action through our anti-ragging committee. I spoke in detail with students in the gynaecology unit, but nobody was aware of her condition. I couldn’t find any previous complaints of ragging against the three students in question.”
The hospital has sent show cause notices to the three students, the unit head and the head of department, asking them to give reasons why action should not be taken against them.