UP medical college principal calls Tablighis ''terrorists'', says they got ''VIP treatment''
Kanpur - The principal of government-run medical college here is heard in a video clip calling Tablighi Jamaat members "terrorists" who should be thrown into a dungeon and complaining against the "appeasement" of the Muslim community.
The purported remarks by GSVM Medical College principal Dr Arati Dave Lalchandani triggered criticism from opposition leaders, who urged police to take action.
She initially claimed that the clip had been tampered with and on Tuesday apologised for hurting the sentiments of Muslims, whom she described as her "brothers and sisters".
It is not clear when the five-minute video was recorded. The doctor is heard telling her audience, possibly journalists, not to leak her remarks.
The Tablighi Jamaat has been at the centre of a controversy for holding in Delhi a congregation of its members, many of whom returned to their homes across the country carrying the coronavirus infection.
Uttar Pradesh was among the states which quarantined a large number of them after the event in March.
"These people are terrorists and we are giving VIP treatment to them by providing food and water," the doctor is heard saying in the clip.
"We are exhausting our resources and manpower on them. We are paying hotel bills and are wasting our kits, food, medicines on them."
Lalchandani says she is plans to speak to the Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, whom she described as an alumnus of the college.
"Here, no one will listen. The district magistrate is doing things as per the orders of the UP CM," she says.
Referring to Tablighi Jamaat members, she says, "Admitting them to hospitals is appeasement. Those who should be thrown into jails are being admitted to hospitals."
"They should be thrashed in jail and put in solitary confinement instead of being kept in isolation wards. UP CM should issue an order that no resources should be spent on the Jamaatis," she says.
Lalchandani says she even confronted the district''s chief medical officer over the Tablighi Jamaat patients.
"I asked the CMO to send these patients to some jungle and they should be locked in a ''kaal kothri'' (dungeon), but my voice was suppressed."
"The appeasement of these 30 crore people is being done at the cost of 100 crore people," she says in the video, apparently referring to the entire Muslim community.
On Tuesday, she told PTI that she has posted videos on social media apologising to the community.
She said she has been helping people as a government doctor for 38 years, without discriminating on the basis of community.
Earlier, she had said the video was the result of a sting operation.
"We worked for two days straight under a lot of pressure. This was done by a sting operation, by pressurisation, by superimposition, by provocation and by deliberately contorting my statements," she had said.
The doctor said she had never mentioned any community by name.
CPM leader Subhashini Ali has demanded the principal's immediate suspension and stringent action if an inquiry finds the allegations against her to be true.
Samajwadi Party leader Neelam Romila Singh has filed a complaint to police.