Mumbai: Two more doctors have been arrested for allegedly abetting the suicide of a junior colleague by tormenting her with casteist slurs at a state-run hospital here, police said on Wednesday.
With this, the police have arrested three doctors, all women.
While Bhakti Mehere was arrested on Tuesday after initial interrogation, Hema Ahuja and Ankita Khandelwal were caught in the early hours on Wednesday, a police officer said.
“The two were arrested from Pune and Mumbai,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (zone III) Avinash Kumar told PTI.
They will be produced in a court later in the day, the police said.
The three doctors were booked after their 26-year-old junior colleague Payal Tadvi at B Y L Nair Hospital here allegedly hanged herself at her hostel room last Wednesday, a senior police official said.
Her family alleged that the doctors taunted her by ragging and hurling casteist abuses as she belonged to a Scheduled Tribe.
The accused were subsequently booked under provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the Anti-Ragging Act, the IT Act and section 306 (abetment to suicide) of the Indian Penal Code.
All the three accused on Tuesday moved an anticipatory bail application before the sessions court here.
Earlier, Tadvi’s parents protested at the hospital in Mumbai where she worked. Other protesters also joined her mother Abeda and husband Salman, demanding stringent action against the three seniors.
The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi and other Dalit and tribal organisations also held protests outside the hospital.
The deceased’s mother sought to know whether the government would take responsibility for the safety of students like her daughter, who are pursuing higher education.
“Payal used to tell me about the torture which she was facing by her seniors on petty issues. They threw files on her face in front of patients.
“She used to tell me not to give a written complaint against her seniors despite being harassed by them. She would say that doing so would adversely impact their career,” Abeda said.
The distraught mother claimed Tadvi would have been the first woman MD (doctor of medicine) from their community.
The deceased’s husband, who is also a doctor, said it was possible that Payal was “murdered” by the three women doctors.
The state women’s commission also took cognisance of the matter and issued a notice to the hospital authorities.
On Tuesday, it wrote a letter to the Mumbai police commissioner, seeking a thorough investigation in the case.
The anti-ragging committee of Nair Hospital also submitted its report in Tadvi’s suicide case to the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences.
State minister for Medical Education Girish Mahajan visited the hospital on Tuesday and met the protesters and parents of the victim.
The Mumbai Congress demanded that all the three doctors booked in the case be tried in a fast-track court, terming Tadvi’s suicide as “unfortunate” and a serious issue.
Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said those accused of abetting Tadvi’s suicide should be booked under IPC section 302 (murder). He said the issue would be raised in the state legislature session starting from June 17.
The three accused on Monday sought a “fair probe” in the case.
In a letter to the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), the accused said they wanted the college to conduct a fair probe in the matter and “give justice” to them.
The MARD has suspended the three doctors.