IN HER three-page suicide note, second-year postgraduate student Dr Payal Tadvi, who allegedly hung herself in her hostel room at the T N Topiwala National Medical College on May 22, has written how it had become “unbearable” for her to carry on amid the “torture” she faced at the hands of her three seniors.
Two months after her death, the contents of the suicide note has come to the fore in the chargesheet filed by the Mumbai Police Crime Branch before a special court on Tuesday.
Naming the three seniors — Dr Hema Ahuja, Dr Bhakti Mehare and Dr Ankita Khandelwal, who have been arrested for abetting suicide and caste discrimination — Tadvi accused them of being “responsible” for her condition and that of her classmate, Snehal. The note also revealed how she felt let down by her seniors in the gynaecology department, whom she had complained to, but nothing came out of it.
In its 1,205-page chargesheet, the Crime Branch has concluded that the suicide note, photographs of which were retrieved days later from Tadvi’s cellphone, was “destroyed” by the three accused doctors.
In the note, written in English, Tadvi said: “I am really sorry mom and dad to take away my life. I know how much I mean to you all and also you are world to me, but no, at this stage everything has become unbearable. I cannot stand a minute with them. From one last year we have been bearing them hoping one day this will end. But now I can only see the end there is no way out of it really. I cannot find a way out (sic).”
She added that she has not been able to understand why the accused were against her. “I have made this decision after trying everything out. I found out no one is there to stand for us, support us in this department. In fact, it is all our fault, we are at fault has been concluded,” Tadvi wrote.
She added, “I have chosen this branch with all passion cause I always wanted to be gynaecologist. I step into this college hoping I will get to learn under such good institute. But people started showing their colours. Initially me and Snehal didn’t come forward and said anything to anyone. The torture continued to the level that I could not bear. I complain against them but it showed no result. Condition was similar and it was still going on (sic).”
Tadvi, a resident of Jalgaon who belonged to the Scheduled Tribe Tadvi Bhil, added that the accused harassed them in front of everyone — patients and staff — almost everyday.
“I am prohibited from handling labour room from last three weeks because they don’t find me efficient. I have been asked to stay out of labour room during OPD hours… they do not allow me to check patients, all I am doing is clerical work,” she wrote.
Tadvi added that despite making all efforts, the situation did not improve. She became “mentally disturbed” and did not see any other way out. She ended the note with an apology to her parents and loved ones. “I don’t know how Snehal will cope up with these three. I am also sorry to leave you with them,” the last line of the note said.
The physical copy of Tadvi’s suicide note was allegedly destroyed by the three accused, who had returned to her room soon after she was rushed to the trauma room on May 22. The police later found photographs of the note on Tadvi’s phone.
Meanwhile, while hearing the bail application of the three accused doctors on Tuesday, the Bombay High Court directed its registry department to make arrangements to video record the bail proceedings on July 30 under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Aabad Ponda, representing the accused, told the high court that the three doctors are not criminals. “They are medical students and want to continue their education. It is an unfortunate incident and they are sympathetic. But life has to go on,” Ponda told the court.
On Tadvi’s suicide note, Ponda said that it only speaks about harassment with regard to work. “There is no whisper about caste or that the accused made remarks about Payal’s caste,” he added.
In the chargesheet, the police have attached the statements of Tadvi’s husband, Salman Tadvi, as well as her roommates and colleagues such as Snehal Shinde, Geeta Kulkarni and Bhagyashree Yevale. The roommates have said that they can identify Tadvi’s handwriting in the suicide note as they have read the case papers of the patients written by her.
They had claimed that the bedsheet in Tadvi’s bedroom is in the background of the suicide note in the photograph clicked by the deceased.