By Abdul Bari Masoud
New Delhi: Kanpur Medical College principal, Dr Aarti Lalchandani has attracted fierce criticism and condemnation for her extremely “vituperative outpourings” against the Muslim community in connection with Covid-19 cases. In a five-minute video rant, she purportedly referred to Tablighi Jamaat members as “terrorists” and asking “why we ( Government) are giving them ( Jamaati patients) VIP treatment… ,exhausting our resources, these people should be punished in “solitary confinement” in jails or “sent to jungles and locked up in dungeons”.
After this video emerged on Sunday, prominent members of the medical fraternity and activists reacted sharply demanding to cancel Dr Lalchandani‘s medical license immediately and to book her under the sections of the Indian Penal Code and to initiate inquiry against her. Terming her as a blot on the medical profession, they also demanded action against AIIMS -New Delhi director Dr Randeep Guleria for blaming ‘Muslim community’ for the spread of COVID pandemic and adding that such people have the alleged “backing” of RSS and its frontal organisations..
Disregarding the medical ethics and the Hippocratic Oath, Dr Lalchandani, who heads the Kanpur GSVM Medical College, told some local journalists that the Muslim patients should be treated like terrorists while she was clearly not aware that her conversation was being recorded by a hidden camera. She further said, “Can’t Yogi ji give an order that state’s resources won’t be used on them.. We are sacrificing Rs 100 crores of the country for these 30 crores (Muslims).”
As the country is battling against Covid -19 pandemic, such statements and communal outpourings have been weakening the fight.
Prof(Dr) Vikas Bajpai, Member National Executive, Progressive Medicos and Scientists Forum, said people like Ms Lalchandani have cost the country a lot in terms of being unitedly able to tackle the ongoing pandemic.
Speaking to Muslim Mirror, Dr Bajpai, alleged that such people have the direct patronage of the RSS and it’s frontal organizations.
“Statements such as her’s have enjoyed direct patronage of the RSS and its frontal organizations and have been deliberately made from time to time to distract attention from utter failure of the government in tackling with the spread of the disease and the immense human misery in its wake.”
Persons like Ms Lalchandani should be booked under relevant sections of the IPC for seeking to criminally derail the fight against COVID, said Dr Bajpai who is also a Professor at Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health at JNU, New Delhi.
He also slammed the AIIMS director for pointing the finger towards a particular community for the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is to be noted that just a few days back the All India Institute of Medical Scientists(AIIMS) New Delhi director Dr Randeep Guleria had put the blame on a ‘particular community’ for the spread of COVID pandemic. This is the most deplorable conduct by doctors occupying important positions of great responsibility.
The national president of the Progressive Medicos and Scientists Forum, Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti also expressed his strong anguish and outrage over the rant of Dr Lalchandani. While talking to Muslim Mirror, he told, “This is very unfortunate that principal of medical college with decades of experience having such a bigoted & discriminatory mindset. We can’t imagine how she treated her patient during her whole life and what she teaches to her students.”
Dr Bhatti, who is also a former President, Resident Doctors Association, AIIMS , said Lalchandani types of teachers are blot on medical professionals and very dangerous for society.
“I personally was shocked to listen to her views as this is completely unethical, unconstitutional and inhuman. I can’t even imagine a doctor having such a rotten mind because we doctors see every individual as human and try to relieve their suffering irrespective of their religion, caste, race or ethnicity.”
Referring to Hippocratic Oath, he said Doctors are under oath to treat all as equal no matter whether the person is criminal or saint.
He also demanded that her licence should be canceled.
“There should be a fair inquiry into this whole issue and if she is found guilty then her License must get canceled and she should be punished according to law.”
All India Lawyers Council is also contemplating registering case against her stating that she crossed all the ethics of the medical profession. Council general secretary, Advocate Sharfuddin Ahmad told Muslim Mirror that Dr.Arti Lalchandani has transgressed all the boundaries of medical ethics. As a doctor she is under the oath to render her services without any religious prejudice and bias. Now the video has totally exposed her who also earlier talked about such unsavory things on some news channels and made allegations against Tablighi Jamaat patients that they were misbehaving with female nurses and doctors and demanding biryani and other things which were found utterly false.
Besides approaching the Medical Council of India for revocation of her license, the AILC is also considering filing cases against her across the country, he said.
Sharfuddin Ahmad, who also hails from Kanpur, said the government medical college was named after Ganesh Shankar Vidhyarthi who was a renowned secular, journalist,freedom fighter and martyr but Dr Lalchandani has spoiled the fair name of this historic institution by her rabid communal utterances.
Noted activist Shabnam Hashmi said the “BJP-controlled media” also should be squarely blamed for such mindset.
“These remarks are to be condemned unequivocally but more than the individual it the BJP controlled media which is responsible for building and propagating this narrative. There is a need to take strict action against them too” she added.
Activist Anjali Bhardwaj aslo condemned the remarks of Dr Lalchandani . ” It is extremely condemnable that a government servant, that too a principal who is supposed to be a role model for young minds, is making such communal statements. The government must immediately take action against her as per the applicable service rules and she should not be allowed to continue as the head of an educational institution. A medical college should promote scientific temper and educate the public rather than promoting communalism” she said.
CPI (M) politburo member Subhashini Ali, who is also from Kanpur, demanded that “ Dr Lalchandani must be removed immediately from her posts and a criminal case should be lodged against her.”
She told Muslim Mirror that she has sent a copy of the video to the Commissioner, Kanpur Zone. However, she is yet to get any response from the Commissioner.
However, her remarks have clearly been in violation of Article 21 of the Constitution and the various decisions of the Supreme Court and international treaties to which India is signatory, finally the Hippocratic oath of medical professionals.