Christian women condemn tribal doctor’s untimely death

Payal Tadvi

By Matters India Reporter

Mumbai, June 1, 2019: The Indian Christian Women’s Movement has expressed shock at the death of a 26-year-old tribal doctor, the first from her community.

“It is sad to note that even after almost 72 years of independence and freedom won for all citizens of India … anti-low caste and anti-Muslim attitudes continue to prevail even in the highest echelons of professional learning,” the ecumenical movement said on June 1.

Payal Tadvi allegedly committed suicide in her hostel room on May 22. Her parents alleged harassment and caste slurs by three senior resident doctors.

Tadvi was a second-year resident doctor in the gynecology department of Topiwala National Medical College attached to Bai Yamunabai Laxman Nair Hospital, Mumbai.

The police have been booked the doctors and on May 30 transferred the case to the crime branch considering its “seriousness and importance.”

The Christian women noted that Tadvi was “a girl from the under privileged Bhil Muslim community, and a budding gynecologist, the first in her doubly marginalized tribal and Muslim community.”

Tadvi had to struggle “to get where she was, only to be robbed of her dreams through constant harassment and ill-treatment by her seniors,” the movement’s statement bemoans.

“Her death has rightly been termed as institutional murder as the authorities failed to take action when complaints were made by her husband Salman Tadvi, as well as her mother Abeda Tadvi,” the statement adds.

The movement, which has members from all Christian denominations, regrets that nothing has been done to “wipe out the deeply entrenched attitudes towards lower castes and minorities” although India’s freedom has constitutional guarantees.

The movement demands making changing attitudes should become the foundation of the country’s educational system.

The laws guaranteeing non-discrimination “have to be supported by multi-pronged programs of awareness and change to ensure that every citizen’s freedom is guaranteed. One very important way is compulsory education for changing attitudes towards the discriminated ‘other’,” asserts the statement.

While welcoming the arrest of the three doctors primarily responsible for Tadvi’s mental torture and harassment, the movement urged the authorities to take appropriate steps to curb such grievous events in the future.

It also urged Indian Medical Association to take “serious note of this unfortunate death and take stern steps to ensure that such harassment will not destroy the life or career of another underprivileged or socially marginalized person.”

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