'Caste, community discrimination in AIIMS unchecked'

Faculty seeks Union health minister’s intervention in student’s suicide issue

Five members of AIIMS senior faculty have written to the Union health minister, who is also the president of AIIMS, to intervene in the probe of suicide of Anil Kumar Meena, a first-year MBBS student who killed himself on March 3.

Alleging lack of sensitivity on the administration’s part, the letter, which was received by the minister on Saturday, stated: “It is unfortunate that AIIMS has failed in its duty to provide a conducive environment to nurture the growth of its professionals to become an asset to the community and the country. It is regretted by all members that both the dean and the director of AIIMS failed to meet this student at a time when he was desperately looking for some sort of counselling and help.”

The letter demanded “a time-bound impartial inquiry by an outside agency with the mandate to ascertain the truth, fix the responsibility on individuals found to be culpable for the incident, work out the quantum of compensation to the family and recommend administrative reforms to prevent such incidents.”

‘Letter for justice’

The letter was sent by Forum for Rights and Equality, AIIMS, and signed by Dr Kaushal K Verma, professor of dermatology; Dr L R Murmu and Dr Sunil Chumber, professors of surgery; Dr Shashi Kant, professor of community medicine and Dr H L Nag, professor of orthopedics.

They alleged that the administration has failed to check discrimination on the campus based on caste and community.

“The lack of affirmative response has forced us to approach the National Commission for SC and ST, the Parliamentary Committee as well the court of law,” said the petition.

They stated that not only the administration did not act on the Thorat Committee recommendations, but also did not take corrective measures after the suicide of Bal Mukund Bharti, a final-year MBBS student, in 2010.

‘Insensitive admin’

“The news of non-payment of the promised ex-gratia and refusal to provide examination answer sheets to his father under an RTI application till date, are evidence not only of illegality but insensitivity,” stated the petition.

The petition referred to meetings with the deceased student’s father, friends, classmates and faculty and concluded that Anil, who came from a rural background, was a bright student and would have been able to cope with the environment had corrective measures were in place.
 

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