The Tamil Nadu State Branch of the Indian Medical Association has written to the TN government regarding the attempted suicide of a Dalit doctor from Tamil Nadu. In a letter to J Radhakrishnan, the Principal Secretary of the Health and Family Welfare Department, the letter asks that the matter be taken up immediately with authorities concerned in Gujarat.
Dr Mariraj, a Dalit doctor from Kadayanallur in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, attempted suicide at the BJ Medical College in Ahmedabad on January 5, allegedly owing to the caste discrimination he had faced from professors and colleagues at the college.
Speaking to TNM a day after he was hospitalised, Dr Mariraj had said, “From the date I joined, I have been facing caste-related discrimination. They humiliate me by asking me to serve tea. They make me stand outside the ward. They don’t allow me inside the operation theatre. They block my number so I can’t talk about a patient’s case. They checked my degree because they claimed it was fake. My colleagues verbally abused me in Gujarati, in front of everyone. I asked for my unit to be changed but nobody responded.” According to a report, nine professors of the college had been booked under Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The letter, signed by Dr JA Jayalal, State President of the IMA and Dr B Sridhar, Honorary State Secretary, demands that appropriate action be taken if the allegations are proven to be true.
The letter also requests that effective action be taken to ensure students from the state do not face such discrimination in the future, “lingually or socially”. The letter also makes a suggestion to provide students a helpline during times of extreme stress.
Speaking to TNM earlier, Mariraj’s brother Muthukumar had said on the discrimination his brother faced, “They made him stand outside the operation theatre. So, he stood for a whole day. Then, he went to his PG Director and complained. They said they would form a committee, but nothing happened. The professors treating him this way set a precedent for his batchmates to bully him. They use bad language and ask him, why did you come here from Tamil Nadu? Why don’t you transfer and go?”