KOLKATA – As the doctors’ protest entered the fifth day Saturday, the family of Mohammad Sayeed (75), whose death triggered the violence at NRS medical college and hospital in Kolkata, alleged that though some of his neighbours were arrested after the incident, no action has been taken against the medicos who allegedly assaulted them. They also alleged that attempts are on to add a “communal twist” to the incident.
“We lost a family member. The doctors also beat us up and the CCTV footage will prove it. Every citizen should have equal access to justice. Five of our neighbours were arrested and are now in jail. What about the doctors? Let the guilty be punished, be it our neighbours or the doctors. We are also aggrieved at the injury of the doctor who might have been hit by a stone. We pray for his speedy recovery. But the strike needs to be lifted too. Thousands of patients are suffering,” Taiyab Hussain, grandson of Sayeed, was quoted by Indian Express.
Following Sayeed’s death, clashes broke out between the junior doctors and the relatives of the patient, leaving one doctor critically injured. Soon after the violence, junior doctors at the hospital initiated cease-work which got support from doctors in 13 state-run hospitals across the state. Five persons were arrested in connection with the violence. The family members of Sayeed also lodged a complaint against three doctors of NRS hospital. The Indian Express met the family of the deceased on Saturday to get their side of the incident.
“The CCTV footage will show it all. The doctors attacked us and some of us were beaten up too. The clash was not a one-sided one. We lost a family member and one of us got emotional. One of us might have pulled a hand of a doctor urging him to see the patient. They took it as misbehaviour and heckling. I apologised twice, once in presence of the policemen. But the doctors refused to accept our apology. They did not allow us to take the body of my grandfather out of the hospital. They armed themselves with hockey sticks and bamboo poles. The policemen were present there when all of these happened,” said Taiyab.
“We agree that there should be armed guards at hospitals. But the administration should also make sure that there is someone who will see if the doctors are behaving properly with the patients and their relatives. They should understand how one feels when someone in the family dies,” said Mohammad Shabbir, son of the deceased.
The family members also rue the fact that efforts are on to give a communal tone to the incident. “Why are people trying to give a communal twist to the incident? Why is a section, led by the BJP, only targeting one community. They are trying to draw a line between the Hindus and the Muslims. We condemn this,” said Shabbir.
The family members claimed that Sayeed, who fell unconscious on Sunday, was admitted to NRS hospital the same day, and was recovering. At 5 pm on Monday, they received a call from a doctor and rushed to the hospital.
“There was a 40-minute delay in administering an injection to the patient. He was gasping. It was then when one of us might have pulled a doctor’s hand and asked him to treat the patient. It was an emotional moment for us. When we went to a senior doctor, he asked us to leave his chamber. My grandfather passed away, but the doctors refused to release the body. I apologised twice. They refused to accept our apology and asked us to present the person, who heckled the doctors, in front of them. We did not know who he was,” said Taiyab.
“The body was supposed to be released at 9.40 pm. My grandfather died at 5.40pm. Instead, the doctors gathered with hockey sticks and bamboo poles and started to chase us. At around midnight, the clash broke out. They beat our boys. Police lathicharged us. We went outside the hospital,” said Taiyab.
When asked about the truck loads of youths who gathered at the hospital, Taiyab said, “The person who died is the father of the Imam of a local mosque. So, dozens of people from our neighbourhood went along with a bed to bring his body out and perform the last rites. This is common. Ask the policemen standing there or check the CCTV footage.”
The five who were arrested have been sent to judicial custody by a court.