Payal Tadvi’s Demise: Suicide or Institutional Murder?

Payal Tadvi’s death is a reminder of how caste prejudice and sustained discrimination against Dalits and minorities plagues our institutions.

MUMBAI | A 26 year old second year junior resident doctor was found dead at BYL Nair hospital in Mumbai on Wednesday. Apparently the doctor had committed suicide in her hostel room. A case has been registered after the mother of the victim; Abeda Salman Tadvi lodged a complaint.As per reports, the suicide was found out in the evening around 7’o clock on Wednesday, 22nd May 2019 by the seniors of the doctor. The eye witnesses claimed that it was when Payal Tadvi stopped responding to calls from the hospital, the news of her suicide came to light.

The hospital claimed that on Wednesday, Payal had her morning and evening duties, in the morning after attending to operation theatre duties Payal had gone to her room to take rest but she did not return for her evening duty. Doctors and hospital staff made several calls to Payal but she did not respond. Suspecting this to be an unusual activity some of the fellow doctors and seniors reached at Payal’s hostel room where they found her dead.

Immediate action was taken by the hospital authorities after finding the dead body, doctors even tried saving her but she was dead already. One of the doctors said “We tried to resuscitate her by administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) but she was already in the state of rigor mortis.” Further the hospital informed the local police who then intervened.

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Mother of the junior resident filed a complained against three doctors of the hospital whom she accused for harassing her daughter and ragging her. The Agripada police have filed an FIR in this matter; the Deputy Commissioner of Police Abhinash Kumar said “We have booked the trio for abetment of suicide under the Indian Penal Code, along with relevant sections of the Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act and the Prevention of Atrocities Act. Investigations are underway.”

The hospital authorities have also condemned the act and have agreed to support the police in further investigation. The hospital has also proposed to carry out an internal investigation in this matter if the police permit. Hospital authorities are alarmed by the news and they have shown huge concerns over the security and safety of the doctors.

Dr. Kalyani Dongre, President of Central Maharashtra Association for Resident Doctors said. “What has happened is very unfortunate. We will insist on a compulsory orientation program for all resident doctors in the State, explaining the residency scheme to them and empowering them with stress management and communication skills. We will ensure they know how to communicate to their seniors about anything that they may be going through. As far as Nair Hospital is concerned, we are going to suggest having a mentor for each department.”

 The Maharasthra Association of Resident Doctors has suspended the three accused on the charges of ragging. Doctor Ling, Hema Ahuja, Bhakti Mehar, Anita Khadilwal have been charged for harassing payal and making castetist slurs at her. As accused by payal’s mother it was because of this kind of harassment and ragging her daughter committed suicide. The hospital did take necessary action by suspending the accused but payal’s mother has claimed that the hospital authorities neglected payal’s complains in the past.

Payal Tadvi’s murder is seen in light of the institutional murder directed by the state and society. The poor girl died because of her caste and her identity over which she had no control. She had to suffer because of this identification.

This case has come out be a shameful act of insensitivity and prejudice that govern Indian society where a mere identity is above the human herself. Payal’s suicide or the institutional murder is highly condemned by one and all.

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