New Delhi: Even as the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to flash billboards containing names and pictures of those protesting against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is being criticised by the many, another controversy that shows its seemingly vindictive behaviour has now surfaced.
The Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government in India’s most populous state has been accused of raiding and shutting down an Allahabad-based ultrasound clinic owned by a doctor whose husband has been opposing the CAA.
The Progressive Medicos and Scientists Forum (PMSF) has called the UP government’s action against the clinic an unjustified act to “teach a lesson” to the doctor’s family for expressing dissent against the CAA.
The clinic is owned by Madhavi Mittal, a alumna of India’s premier medical school, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. The police raided the clinic on Sunday when she was out of town for three days, and sealed it.
A news report in The Telegraph quoted the PMSF national convenor Harjit Singh Bhatti as saying, “We believe the sealing is a vindictive step taken by the Yogi Adityanath government to teach a lesson to her husband, Dr Ashish Mittal.”
Ashish, also an alumnus of AIIMS, is general secretary of the All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha and had been supporting the women protesting against the CAA at Mansoor Park in Allahabad.
A district administrator, Ajay Singh, told the newspaper that “technical deficiency” was the reason the clinic was shut down. However, the administration’s medical officer A.K. Tiwari could not be reached for a comment.
“The medical officer will explain the technical issue, I was there from the law-and-order point of view,” Singh said.
Ashish, however, said that the clinic had the required documentation and the staff had urged the officials to consult Madhavi if they required any additional information but they declined to do so.
“When a lawyer-friend confronted them, asked them how they could seal a closed clinic in the absence of the doctor, he was told on the sidelines that they had orders to seal the clinic,” Mittal told The Telegraph.
Satyarth Aniruddha Pankaj, senior superintendent of police of Allahabad, told The Telegraph that no ultrasound clinic was raided or forced to shut shop in recent days.
“We don’t know about any clinic which is being sealed. We have not taken any such action,” Aniruddha said.
However, Ashish produced a picture that showed that a police official was present during the sealing of the clinic.
“This action of the Yogi Adityanath government marks a new low in the suppression of democratic rights in the state,” the PMSF said in a statement. “They are targeting not only those who are voicing dissenting opinions but even their relatives. This dictatorial, unlawful and senseless act must be condemned by all.”
Calling the Adityanath government “blatantly patriarchal” for holding an independent working woman accountable for her husband’s actions, the PMSF appealed for support from the Indian medical community and has demanded immediate de-sealing of the clinic.