Month after PhD scholar’s death, Hyd Uni grants Rs 5 lakh relief, students unhappy

Rashmi Ranjan died of dengue due to alleged medical negligence and the student community had demanded Rs 25 lakh compensation.
Month after PhD scholar’s death, Hyd Uni grants Rs 5 lakh relief, students unhappy
Month after PhD scholar’s death, Hyd Uni grants Rs 5 lakh relief, students unhappy
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More than a month after the death of Rashmi Ranjan Suna, a PhD scholar who died of dengue due to alleged medical negligence at the University of Hyderabad, the university has granted compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the deceased’s family. The university has also reimbursed an amount of Rs 1.8 lakh that was spent on Rashmi’s medical expenses. The compensation comes against the demand of Rs 25 lakh that was raised by the student community for Rashmi’s family, considering the family’s financial condition. Rashmi, a native of Odisha, was the sole breadwinner of the family and was at the final stage of submitting his PhD thesis.

Rashmi Ranjan had died of multiple organ failure on November 26, after he was diagnosed with dengue. Soon after his death, protests broke out in the campus alleging medical negligence on part of the University health centre which referred Rashmi to a nearby hospital that was already blacklisted by the UoH authorities. Students demanded a compensation of Rs 25 lakh and also strict action against the doctor who referred Rashmi to the Himagiri Hospital in Gachibowli.

Speaking to TNM, Pratap, a physics PhD scholar from HCU, who was part of the student protests for justice for Rashmi, said that the compensation given is meagre as opposed to the demand raised by the students.

“Soon after Rashmi’s death, the student community itself collected and contributed a sum of Rs 4 lakh to the family. The teachers’ association also gave a sum of Rs 1 lakh. Considering the socio-economic background of the family, Rs 25 lakh is the least that the University can compensate. Rashmi lost his life to the negligence of the medical centre in the campus, despite his friend requesting to refer him to another hospital. The authorities’ indifference to the issue is appalling,” Pratap said.

According to students from the campus, the financial condition of Rashmi Ranjan’s family is miserable and the students had recently collected money to send to his family. Soon after Rashmi’s death, the Odisha government had provided a compensation of Rs 50,000 and also offered a temporary government job to Rashmi’s sister.

Meanwhile, a seven-member committee, consisting of members of the students’ union, a medical expert and faculty members, was formed by the University to look into Rashmi’s death. The committee had sought two weeks’ time to submit its report and has already gone way past its deadline to submit its findings.

According to University Grants Commission guidelines, any grievance committee should submit their report within 15 days of its formation. Meanwhile, the University filed a case against the Himagiri Hospital accusing it of medical negligence.

Speaking to TNM, Aarti Nagpal, president of the Student’s Union, says there is a delay in submitting the report because the committee has failed to include s few demands that were put forward by the students’ union.

“We rejected the report and we also told the students why we have refused to sign it. We have asked them to make the changes and we are rejecting the report until they agree to our demands. Also, Rs 5 lakh is a very small amount as compared to what he had demanded and we are still fighting with the authorities to grant a bigger amount. But we aren’t rejecting the money and will be sending it to Rashmi’s family,” Aarti said.

She also added that the student community has filed an FIR not just against Himagiri Hospitals but also against the health centre. Aarti affirmed that the report, once it’s out, will serve to derecognise the health centre and also to take appropriate action against the incompetent doctors.

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