The Uttar Pradesh government has removed Kanpur’s GSVM Medical College principal Arati Dave Lalchandani from her post in the wake of a controversial video that went viral last week. In the video, she had purportedly launched a diatribe against Tablighi Jamaat members and had accused the BJP government in the state of “appeasement” and wasting resources on them.
According to sources, the action was taken after Kanpur District Magistrate Brahm Dev Tiwari submitted his report on the controversy to Principal Secretary (Medical Education) Rajneesh Dube. “Lalchandani has been transferred to Jhansi where she will serve as principal of Maharani Laxmi Bai Medical College Medical College,” a source said.
Professor R B Kamal is most likely to replace her. However, there is no official confirmation yet.
In the almost five-minute video, which is likely to be two months old, Lalchandani was heard saying “these people are terrorists, but instead are provided VIP treatment”, referring to Tablighi Jamaat members. She went on to add that her hospital had to exhaust its resources for patients linked to the cluster, putting doctors at risk, while the patients’ hotel bills were paid. Labelling the admission of “these people” to hospitals as appeasement by the UP government, she said the government should instead handle them more strictly.
An event of Tablighi Jamaat, the Islamic missionary movement, in Delhi in late March had emerged as a Covid-19 cluster. According to the UP health department, over 30 per cent coronavirus cases in the state are linked to Tablighi Jamaat members and their contacts.
Following the controversy, Lalchandani claimed that the video was morphed by a local journalist in Kanpur who has been allegedly trying to use it to extort money and receive administrative favours.
Claiming that she did not use words such as Tablighi or Muslims in the video, Lalchandani had said she would get an FIR registered against the journalist for filming the video and blackmailing her.
However, no FIR has been registered till date.
On May 31, Lalchandani had confirmed that Principal Secretary Dube had spoken to her regarding the viral video and she had presented her side of the story to him. While Kanpur DM Tiwari said that he does not have any information about Lalchandani’s transfer, Dube could not be reached over the phone.
After the controversy broke out, Lalchandani had released a video statement saying that she has “special love” for the minority community and had taught many Muslims students. She also said that many Muslim patients thanked the staff after their recovery. She had also released a letter apologising for “hurting the feelings of Muslim brothers and sisters”.
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