September 6th, 2017
The resident doctors of the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi have demanded the removal of Anant Kumar Hegde from Karnataka saying that he has a history of physical violence against medical practitioners.
Mr Hegde took charge as Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship on Monday, September 4, in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet.
As reported by The Hindu, Harjit Bhatti, who is the president of the Resident Doctors Association (RDA) of AIIMS, has said that the Prime Minister’s move to include Hegde as Minister of State for Skill Development has sparked a sense of insecurity among doctors.
Moreover, doctors across the country are also protesting vigorously against the introduction of newly appointed minister, demanding that he should be dropped from the cabinet immediately.
There is ‘no feeling of security’
In a letter to the PM, Dr Bhatti said that doctors had gained confidence after the Prime Minister had raised the issue of violence against medical practitioners from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the eve of Independence Day, 15 August, where he urged people to follow Mahatma Gandhi’s path and embrace nonviolence.
Dr Bhatti wrote in the letter, “But you have shattered the feeling of security. We doctors again feel insecure when you introduced a tainted Minister into your Cabinet who has a history of physical violence against doctors.”
The doctors alleged that Mr Hedge had assaulted doctors and staff at the Totagarara Seva Samiti (TSS) Hospital in Sirsi over an alleged delay in the treatment of his mother, and sought an in-depth inquiry against him.
CCTV Footage from the hospital shows Hegde slapping a doctor. His mother had been admitted to the hospital after a fall and the parliamentarian felt that the doctors were not giving her enough attention.
The AIIMS RDA, a body of around 1,500 doctors, also sought an apology from Hegde.
Demand to Remove Mr Hegde
Dr Bhatti then went on to urge the PM to evaluate his decision and wrote, “We were expecting a fair inquiry and conviction, but he was rewarded and made a Minister. This step is definitely against the medical fraternity as it portrays that you reward an assault of doctors.”
Hegde’s induction has been opposed not only for that case of assault but also for his polarising statements in the past. In 2016, he had equated Islam with terrorism, saying in a news conference, “As long as Islam is there in this world, there will be terrorism.”
The letter said that Mr Hegde’s appointment sends out a very wrong message. “Making him Skill Development Minister has sent another wrong message. Is indulging in violence the ‘new skill’ to be taught to entrepreneurs?”