One Doctor Accused of Abetting Payal Tadvi's Suicide Arrested

Bhakti Mehere was arrested after an interrogation, while Ankita Khandelwal and Hema Ahuja have sough anticipatory bail.

Mumbai: A doctor at a state-run hospital in Mumbai, accused of abetting the suicide of Payal Tadvi, a junior colleague, by tormenting her with casteist slurs, was arrested on Tuesday, police said.

Agripada police arrested Bhakti Mehere after initial interrogation, a police official said.

Mehere was one of the three senior doctors against whom an offence was registered after 26-year-old Payal Tadvi committed suicide on May 22, police said.

The two other accused doctors – Ankita Khandelwal and Hema Ahuja – have moved an anticipatory bail application before the session court here, the official said.

Meanwhile, Payal’s parents protested at the state-run hospital in Mumbai where she worked.

Other protesters also joined Tadvis mother Abeda and husband Salman, demanding stringent action against the three seniors who allegedly drove her to end her life by “torturing her by ragging and hurling casteist abuses at her.”

Protesters belonging to the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, Dalit and tribal organisations held protests outside the BYL Nair Hospital here over Tadvi’s death.

Also Read: Even After Payal Tadvi’s Death, Doctors’ Body Unconvinced of Caste Discrimination

Abeda said she will ask the government to take responsibility for safety of students like her daughter, who are pursuing higher education.

She said Payal would have been the first woman MD doctor from the Bhil Adivasi community.

“Payal used to tell me about the torture which she was facing by her seniors on petty issues. They threw files on her face in front of patients,” she said.

“Payal used to tell me not to give a written complaint against her seniors despite being harassed by them.

She would say that doing so would adversely impact their career,” Abeda said.

Salman, a doctor, said it is possible that Payal was murdered by the three women doctors.

Expressing solidarity with the protesters and with Tadvi’s family, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad said he would visit Maharashtra if needed to “fight for justice for our younger sister”.

The Maharashtra State Commission for Women has also taken cognisance of the matter and issued a notice to the hospital authorities demanding a reply within eight days on the action taken to implement the anti-ragging law.

The three women doctors at the hospital accused of driving Tadvi to suicide Monday sought a “fair probe” in the case.

In a letter to the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), they said they want the college to conduct a fair investigation in the matter and “give justice” to them.

“This is not the way to do an investigation through police force and media pressure, without hearing our side,” the three doctors said in the letter.

MARD has suspended the three doctors.

“We have credible inputs that the three doctors made casteist remarks against Dr Payal Tadvi, who allegedly committed suicide. We will cooperate with the police for the further investigation,” a senior MARD official said.

Tadvi committed suicide on May 22. Her family has alleged that the doctors taunted her for belonging to a Scheduled Tribe.

The three doctors have been booked under the Atrocities Act, the Anti-Ragging Act and the IT Act and Section 306 (abetment to suicide) of the IPC.