Alleged ragging at KEM Hospital: FIR filed against 12 medicos, 2 suspended
Mumbai: In a case of alleged ragging, FIR has been filed against 16 persons, including 12 medical students studying at the KEM Hospital and Seth Gordhandas Sunderdas (GS) Medical College as well as two doctors who allegedly made casteist remarks, and harassed a medico.Moreover, the college has suspended two medical students and served notices of misconduct to a dozen more after the...
Mumbai: In a case of alleged ragging, FIR has been filed against 16 persons, including 12 medical students studying at the KEM Hospital and Seth Gordhandas Sunderdas (GS) Medical College as well as two doctors who allegedly made casteist remarks, and harassed a medico.
Moreover, the college has suspended two medical students and served notices of misconduct to a dozen more after the incident. However, the college claimed that the investigations conducted by the two committees only found evidence of improper behavior, instead of casteism and ragging.
The complaint was filed by a third-year student of occupational therapy at GS Medical college, coming from the Scheduled Caste community. He is doing post graduation from King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital's Occupational Therapy School and Center.
The FIR has been filed under sections 3(1)(i),(r)(s)(z) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, section 4 of the Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1999, section 504 (intentionally insults, and thereby gives provocation to any person) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of Indian Penal Code, reports the Hindustan Times.
The student alleged that the accused made him clean utensils, wash their clothes and sweep the floors in the college premises and the hostel, further making him stand on top of benches as a form of physical punishment. The FIR mentioned an incident where a student had snatched the complainant's phone and called him "a miser" and "a beggar" while referring to his caste.
The FIR noted, "In March 2019, three of my roommates in the hostel room abused me and also made casteist remarks saying, 'You belong to the Mahar community, why have you come here for studies?' I was mentally harassed, and tortured on many occasions by the accused students. They used filthy language and threatened to kill me. I was scared and lodged many complaints. I sent an email to the hospital administration, but they didn't resolve the problem."
Confirming the allegations, Pranay Ashok, deputy commissioner of police, zone 5,who is holding additional charge of zone 4 told HT, "We have registered an offence and further verifying and investigating the allegations. No arrest has been made yet".
Talking about the incident, the complainant told Indian Express, "There were a few fellow students, who would call me by my caste in front of others to insult me. I was also threatened with physical violence. One day, one of the students from my hostel room removed his belt to beat me up. They also threatened to throw me from the eighth floor."
The student had earlier also filed a complaint in 2019 with the dean and other senior functionaries of the medical college stating that he was being ragged and abused with casteist slurs by other students. However, the college administration refused to consider the student's complaint. Further, when the student made a complaint with the two doctors, who are wardens of the college, he was threatened of being thrown out, said a police official.
Another complaint was filed by the student on December 14, 2021, after which he was threatened of being killed by some students of the college. He went back to his home in HIngoli district after submitting the letter to the dean. In that complaint letter, the student stated that he was taken to a room and locked from inside by the accused. They threatened to assault him with a belt, and further harassed him.
He complained about how the college warden practiced casteism, by yelling at him if he dried his clothes outside and asked him to maintain distance with the other students during interaction. He said in the complaint, "Such behaviour is inhuman."
The college administration subsequently established an an anti-ragging inquiry committee which concluded that no ragging took place claiming that enough evidence was not presented by the student to support his allegation.
The KEM dean Dr Sangeeta Ravat said, "Initially a small committee was looking into the matter, but after I joined, a 21-member committee that also comprised independent members from an NGO, a journalist and two parents (as per the university guidelines) looked into the student's complaint. The police were also present throughout this proceeding." She added, "The committee recorded versions of the students, teachers. The committee didn't find anyone who said anything in his (the complainant) favour or supported his claims. He was given sufficient opportunity to express his problems so that the same can be resolved. But nothing could be verified. Not a single student supported his claims. He called three to four students, but they too said that they have also heard about his problems, but they have not witnessed any incident. He complained of alleged incidents that occurred inside hostel rooms which cannot be verify through CCTV footage." She said, "In addition, we formed a guardian committee, which comprises an anatomy professor of his choice, to ensure that he does not face any problem till he finishes his studies."
The committee have suspended two students from the hostel for two weeks and cancel the scholarship for a month, reasoning misconduct. The caretaker of the hostel who had gone on leave the day the incident took place was put under suspension, reports the Times of India.
The hospital authorities, however, claimed that they were criticised for not following the guidelines issued by the Centre during their investigation in December.
The measures taken by the hospital was sent to the mayor and the law officer of the civic body.The student had also made a complaint before the state's SC-ST commission on December 23, 2021.
However, DCP Ashok said, "The FIR has been registered, as the complainant was not satisfied with findings of the anti-ragging committee constituted by the college." Senior inspector of Bhoiwada police station added that the police are now in process of collecting evidence and identifying witnesses to verify complainant student's allegations, reports the HT.