The Union Government has announced the President and other Board members for the upcoming All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) near Madurai. While Dr VM Katoch, the President of JIPMER, Puducherry will be the President of the AIIMS, what has raised eyebrows is the appointment of Dr Shanmugam Subbiah, Professor and Head (Department of Surgical Oncology) at the Kilpauk Medical College, as a board member. Subbiah was in the news recently for allegedly harassing a senior woman citizen in Chennai by throwing garbage in front of her door and urinating there. He is also the National President of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the students wing of the BJP.
Though complaint was withdrawn later, the complainant, who was the woman's nephew had made it clear that they were under immense pressure to do it. According to the complainant, Subbiah started harassing the woman after an argument around the use of a vacant parking space in the apartment complex. What allegedly followed was a series of unwarranted behaviour from his part, where the complainant alleged he left garbage outside her door and even urinated in front of it. The complainant’s family had also attached a CCTV footage of a man peeing in front of the complainant’s door to support their allegations. Subbiah, however, had denied the allegations and had claimed that the video attached as evidence was doctored.
Centre appoints Dr V.M. Katoch, President, JIPMER, Puducherry, as President of AIIMS, Madurai.— Arvind Gunasekar (@arvindgunasekar) October 28, 2020
Dr. Sudha Seshayyan, Vice Chancellor, The Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University, Chennai appointed as a member.
For reasons unknown, Centre has not nominated three MPs !! pic.twitter.com/cS83nNJild
Several political leaders and social media users have now questioned the rationale behind the union government’s decision to appoint Shanmugam Subbiah as a member of the AIIMS Madurai Board.
VCK leader and Member of Parliament from Tamil Nadu’s Villupuram D Ravikumar questioned whether this decision is not an insult to women. “Appointing an accused in a case involving women's harassment as a member of AIIMS, Madurai. Isn’t this insulting women?” he tweeted in Tamil.
Congress MP from Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu also demanded that Shanmugam Subbiah be removed from this post. “Unbelievable action by Health Minister @drharshvardhan . Madurai Thoppur AIIMS gets Subbiah Shanmugam as member . kindly withdraw the order and remove him from the committee. How can Dr Harsh Vardhan justify when the harassment of women is still pending? #RemoveSubbiahShamugam,” he tweeted.
Unbelievable action by Health Minister @drharshvardhan . Madurai Thoppur AIIMS gets Subbiah Shanmugam as member . kindly withdraw the order and remove him from the committee. How can Dr Harsh Vardhan justify when the harassment of women is still pending? #RemoveSubbiahShamugam pic.twitter.com/TWpXK93xEr— Manickam Tagore MPமாணிக்கம் தாகூர் (@manickamtagore) October 28, 2020
DMK MP Kanimozhi also tweeted against the move and questioned whether this is an endorsement of his behaviour. “Is this an endorsement of indecent behaviour and also an incentive for other BJP cadres to follow suit?” she tweeted.
Several social media users also expressed their outrage at the appointment.
மதுரை எய்ம்ஸ் உறுப்பினராக சுப்பையா சண்முகம் நியமனம் - செய்தி!— Abdul Rasheed (@abosiddiq) October 28, 2020
தனித்து வாழும் வயது முதிர்ந்த பெண்மணி வீட்டு வாசலில் அசிங்கம் செய்துவிட்டு மன்னிப்பு கோரிய டாக்டர் சங்கிக்கு மத்திய அரசு பரிசு!
பாஜக பெண்களை மதிக்கிறதாம் நம்புவோம்!#MaduraiAIIMS | #SubbiahShanmugam#BjpAgainstWomen
The infamous Dr Subbiah Shanmugam @subbiah_doctor who was accused for urinating in front of a neighbour elderly woman's house in Nanganallur, near Chennai, recently - is member #AIIMSMadurai #RemoveSubbiahShamugam @SuVe4Madurai @manickamtagore @DrSenthil_MDRD @KanimozhiDMK https://t.co/iao3aTL9ON— Elango | இளங்கோ | ಇಳಂಗೋ (@EKadhirvel) October 28, 2020
@OndrinaivomVaa @arivalayam @Udhaystalin @mkstalin— PATHMARAGAM (@PATHMARAGAM19) October 28, 2020
BJP Govt appointment of Dr Katoch ,as President of Proposed AIIMS,Madurai.Dr Shanmugam Subbiah, ABVP TN President as Member. Remember he harassed a 60 year old woman by urinating in front her residence. No MPs in the committee. pic.twitter.com/harKcwKAp2
According to the notification issued by the government of India on October 15, Dr Sudha Seshayyan, the Vice Chancellor of Tamil Nadu’s Dr MGR Medical University, Chennai is also a member of the AIIMS, Madurai Board.