Payal Tadvi’s Mother Accuses College of Inaction, Says, "She Was Killed."

Vishal Chauhan, 29/05/2019
Payal Tadvi’s Mother Accuses College of Inaction, Says, "She Was Killed."

It’s been over a week since Dr Payal Tadvi ended her life and her family believes that she could have been saved, if only the college authorities had taken their complaints seriously. Payal’s mother recounts the trauma and harassment her daughter allegedly underwent at the hands of three senior medical students – Hema Ahuja, Bhakti Mehare and Ankita Khandelwal, that started in 2018 once she enrolled in Nair Hospital for her MD degree.

“She used to tell us that she was being troubled a lot there. She said that they were constantly trying to treat her as an inferior because she was from the Adivasi community. I asked her to give me their phone numbers and told her that I will talk to them. But she said that they were terrible people and would insult me and that she wouldn’t be able to take that.”

-Abeda Tadvi, Payal’s mother

Payal confided in her family that the trio used casteist slurs to abuse her, yelled at her in front of other patients and threw files at her. Apart from this, her family claims, they also overburdened her with work. After tolerating the harassment meted out to her, Payal reportedly approached her HoD and requested for a change in her shift.

“They made a temporary arrangement and gave her a light posting for two months, for instance, during this time she would be working with departments associated with Gynaecology like paediatrics, surgery and radiation. She was sent to these three departments for 15 days each and she was there till February and things were stable then.”

-Salman Tadvi, Payal’s Husband

But things only got worse when Payal returned to working in the same unit in February 2019. That’s when her family tried meeting the college dean. When told that the dean was unavailable, they approached the head of her unit, who allegedly refused to take any action against the accused.

“Despite reaching out to the authorities again and again, why did they not act? Did they not act because they thought that Payal was from a lower caste? What was their reason? We still don’t understand. We only want justice for Payal and that the registration of the three girls be cancelled; this is for ragging, and they should also be punished for abetment to suicide.”

-Salman Tadvi, Payal’s Husband

So far, the Mumbai police has arrested one of the accused senior doctors and continue their hunt for the two others who have been accused of abetting Payal Tadvi’s suicide.

“She was the first girl in our community who would complete an MD. The entire community was proud of her. She did not take this step by herself. She was killed. The police and the government authorities must consider this and ensure Payal receives justice,” adds Payal’s mother.

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