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 in Mumbai, 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.
All India Women’s Association (AIDWA), Students’ Federation of India (SFI), Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) and Jati Ant Sangharsh Samiti (JASS) staged a demonstration outside the hospital on May 27. A delegation that met with the hospital authorities pointed out that public medical institutions were the only guarantors that could ensure entry into professional education of students from Adivasi and other vulnerable communities. Therefore, a strong message had to go out into the college community and wider society that there would be no tolerance shown to any casteist abuse and oppression. The delegation further said that there had been a complete failure on part of the medical colleges and the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) to establish effective mechanisms to address ragging and caste harassment, such as UGC-recommended Equal Opportunity Cells/SC-ST cells.
The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi and other Dalit and tribal organisations also held protests outside the hospital on Tuesday.
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.
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.
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