HOURS before Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi landed in Rajkot, a Dalit victim of public flogging, who had been discharged from Junagadh civil hospital on July 18, was admitted to the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay (PDU) General Hospital in Rajkot Thursday, reportedly under “political pressure”. Ramesh Sarvaiya, 23, was among seven members of a Dalit family who were allegedly assaulted by a group of gau rakshaks while they were skinning a dead cow in Mota Samadhiyala village of Una taluka in Gir Somnath district on July 11.
After being given primary treatment at a community health centre in Una town, Ramesh was referred to Junagadh civil hospital the same day as doctors suspected fractures. However, he was discharged from the there on July 18. With him, his father Balu Sarvaiya, 46, who had sustained head injury, was also discharged. “They had recovered form their injuries and, therefore, they were discharged,” Dr Alpesh Vaishnani, in-charge resident medical officer of Junagadh civil hospital, said.
The father-son duo and Balu’s wife, Kunvar (42), were admitted to the Junagadh hospital on the night of July 11. But, curiously, Kunvar left the hospital on the afternoon of July 12. Ramesh was spotted in the surgical ward of PDU hospital on Wednesday during Chief Minister Anandiben Patel’s visit. But the hospital documents show he was admitted to the same ward at 7.38 am on Thursday, around 7 hours before the Congress vice-president visited. On July 18, the CM had announced that the Gujarat government would cover all costs of their treatment. Dr Dharmendra Vatsraj, medical superintendent of PDU General hospital, said, “He had abrasions and bruises and came to us for treatment. As a matter of policy, we cannot deny treatment to any patient. Therefore, he was admitted this morning.”
Besides Ramesh and his elder brother, Vashram (26), two other victims – Bechar Sarvaiya (30) and Ashok Sarvaiya (20) – are also undergoing treatment at the PDU General Hospital. After enquiring about the health of Vashram, Bechar and Ashok on Wednesday, the chief minister had told mediapersons that none of them had fractures and that all of them were “normal”. Ramesh was on the bedside of his brother on Wednesday and Dr Vatsraj said he could have accompanied the patients in the hospital.
Vashram, Bechar and Ashok were first admitted to the Una hospital and had received treatment there till the evening of July 16. Doctors had told The Indian Express on July 12 that the trio were “merely under observation”. But, later on, they were referred to Rajkot. “They had complaints of headache, giddiness and abdominal pain. Therefore, we referred them to Rajkot,” says Dr Tariq Baloch, medical superintendent of the Una hospital.
But doctors at the the Rajkot and Una hospitals calim that they are “under pressure” to let the Una victims stay in the hospitals. “The four patients from Una are completely normal. They are fit to be discharged any time. Other 11 who have attempted suicide by consuming poison are also fine and can be allowed to go home. But there is a lot of political pressure on us to let them stay in the hospital. The leaders of various political parties are coming to us and telling us that they are very serious and that they should continue to get medical treatment,” a senior doctor of the government hospital in Rajkot told The Indian Express on the condition of anonymity.
When contacted, Ramesh said, “My thighs have swollen again and the pain has recurred. Black spots have developed there due to the beating. When I told doctors about this, they advised me to get admitted and I agreed,” he said. Ramesh said that he had been in the PDU General Hospital with his elder brother since July 18 after he was discharged from the Junagadh hospital. However, he denied that any politician or community leader persuaded him to get admitted again.