‘Medical colleges need grievance cell for SC/ST students ’: BANSF
Following the suicide of a student after she being subjected to casteist taunts, the BANSF, has urged CM Devendra Fadnavis to set up cells to reduce the number of caste based hatred in educational institutes.
Medical colleges should have a grievance cell for students belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Nomadic Tribe (NT) to resolve caste-based issues at a primary level, demanded student representatives of backward classes.
Following the suicide of 23-year-old Dr Payal Tadvi, after she was allegedly subjected to casteist taunts, the Babasaheb Ambedkar National Students Foundation (BANSF), a group representing SC, ST and NT students, has urged chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to set up cells to reduce the number of castebased hatred in educational institutes. The association cited recommendations made by the Sukhdeo Thorat committee in 2007 after increasing number of casteist remarks were reported from AIIMS Medical College, Delhi. The committee had recommended forming similar grievance cells in every college to address such issues.
“Caste-based discrimination is on the rise but the incidents are noticed only when the victim takes an extreme step. Had the government taken cognisance of Thorat’s report and found such SC-ST-NT grievance cells in colleges, maybe Dr Tadvi could’ve had a platform to express what she was going through and not taken such as extreme step,” said Atul Khobragade, founding president of BANSF.
In a letter to Fadnavis, the association said similar atrocities are committed against students from Other Backward Classes (OBC) as well. Similar committees are in place in several colleges across the country, such as the SC/ST student’s cell at IITBombay. The cell has been addressing academic and non-academic issues from students belonging to reserved categories.
However, some doctors believe that while existence of such cells may be helpful, discussing caste may increase cases of discrimination in the medical colleges. “Ragging and workplace harassment undeniably exists in medical education but caste isn’t a cause for it. During my tenure as a Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) office bearer, I received complaints of ragging but none was caste-based. They were a result of workload stress or the mental health of doctors. If you relate these issues to caste, doctors will start seeing each other in a different light,” said Dr Sagar Mundada, former MARD president and MD Psychiatrist.