Tripura Health Minister Sudip Roy Barman Friday surrendered his escorts and said he felt ‘improper and unethical’ to have security cover as long as adequate police security wasn’t provided at Indira Gandhi Memorial (IGM) Hospital and other district hospitals.
Earlier on Thursday morning, Dr Dipankar Debnath, a resident surgeon at IGM Hospital, was dragged out by a group of people and thrashed in public. He was left unconscious in front of Agartala City Centre, nearly 100 yards away from the hospital. The doctor was admitted to the Trauma Centre of GBP Hospital.
The attack on the doctor came after a pregnant woman died during labour at the hospital. Relatives of the deceased blamed negligence of doctors and attacked Dr Debnath.
In a letter to Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, Health Minister Sudip Roy Barman said that government doctors and other health staff members are feeling ‘highly insecure’ while working in different government healthcare institutions.
He added that morale of doctors has gone down to an ‘abysmally low level’ as a fallout of attacks on medicos in different parts of the state. Being head of the health department, Sudip wrote that he feels he has completely failed in protecting them from these shameful deeds and surrendered his escorts as long as adequate police security in IG and other district hospitals is not provided and security cover strengthened in GB Hospital round the clock.
Roy Barman trained guns at the state government over attack on doctors and wrote, “I am completely shocked to observe that no arrest of hooligans/perpetrators involved in various incidents of crime within hospital complex have been made till date.”
Biplab Kumar Deb, who also holds the Home portfolio, has clarified today that accused persons were arrested in each case of attack on doctors. However, he admitted they were released on bail in some cases and assured that his government would file a petition with the High Court of Tripura or the District Court to make sure those accused for attack on Dr Dipankar Debnath at IGM Hospital were not released on bail.
Referring to an attack on a doctor at Srinagar Community Health Centre (CHC) at Sabroom in South Tripura on April 1, Health Minister Roy Barman wrote ‘culprits’ responsible for criminal acts related to the incident are roaming scot-free.
BJP’s Sabroom Mandal president Arjun Debnath was accused of assaulting Dr Dipak Mitra with shoes and hurling racial slurs against him following an altercation.
Biplab Deb, who is also state president of BJP, clarified that his party has served a show-cause notice to BJP’s Sabroom Mandal president Arjun Debnath, who is accused in the attack. However, he didn’t speak of any legal actions his government would initiate in the case.
Meanwhile, doctors have expressed dissatisfaction at the steps taken by the state government and said they would continue agitation by halting private practice, discontinue participation in voluntary blood donation camps and tender mass resignation if punishment to the culprits behind the IGM incident wasn’t ensured.
“Arrest is not punishment. We also want police security and CCTV cameras in all government healthcare centers across Tripura. If these demands are not met, we shall not discontinue our agitation,” All Tripura Government Doctors Association (ATGDA) Rajesh Choudhury told reporters.
The doctors have claimed that 12 incidents of attack on medicos have occurred during the last one year in Tripura.