Doctors in Odisha protested police action against three medics for allegedly not taking care of a gangrape victim who died after more than six months of treatment at a hospital. The Odisha Medical Services Association, an organisation of over 4,000 doctors, said the crime branch of the state police has filed charge sheet against the doctors, alleging that they violated the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocity) Act.
The woman was gangraped Nov 28, 2011, and died June 21, 2012. “The doctors have not violated any act. Rather the victim was kept in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Sriram Chandra Bhanja Medical College and Hospital at Cuttack for several months for no reason,” J.B. Biswal, member of the central working committee, told reporters.
“She was kept unnecessarily under political pressure. It was all due to politics. It was a drama. There was no justification,” he said.
The woman was allegedly gangraped by some people near her village Arjunagoda in the Pipili police station area of Puri district, about 10 km from Bhubaneswar, Nov 28 last year. The crime branch has filed charge sheet against several persons in the case, including against D.N. Moharana, superintendent of Sriram Chandra Bhanja (SCB) Medical College and Hospital at Cuttack, and Milan Mitra and K.C. Sahu, both doctors at a government hospital in Bhubaneswar.
The doctors have been accused of denying the woman proper treatment. The crime branch filed its first charge sheet against four people arrested in the case in March, but said that there was no evidence of rape. However, according to the woman’s family, she was gangraped by a group of men who had earlier assaulted her in 2008 and against whom she had filed a molestation case. The incident came to light when the woman was denied proper treatment at hospitals.
The case had also created a political storm, prompting Odisha Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy to resign Jan 19 on moral grounds after the opposition and the girl’s family alleged that he was protecting the attackers. The incident is being investigated by the crime branch and a one-man judicial commission headed by a retired judge of the Orissa High Court. After the woman died June 21, activists of women’s organisations and opposition parties have renewed their protests and demonstrations and demanded a probe by Central Bureau of Investigation.