Tragically, a first-year postgraduate student at Kakatiya Medical College in Warangal, identified as Dharavathi Preethi, has reportedly taken her own life due to alleged harassment from a senior member of the institution. The heart-wrenching incident occurred on February 21-22 when the young student self-administered a lethal injection, presumably due to unbearable distress caused by the harassment.
Subsequently, on February 23rd, Preethi was discovered unconscious in her quarters and immediately rushed to a medical facility in Hyderabad for urgent treatment.
"Despite continuous efforts by a multidisciplinary team of specialist doctors, Dr. Dharavath Preethi could not be saved and was declared dead on February 26, at 9.10 pm,” read the bulletin issued by NIMS Medical Superintendent Dr. Satyanarayana. After the news of her death spread, mild tension permeated outside the hospital and the police was deployed to prevent any untoward incident.
Father rules out the possibility of suicide
Dharavath Preeti, the deceased postgraduate student, was the youngest daughter of Dharavath Narendra, a dedicated sub-inspector with the Railway Police Force. Following the devastating loss of his beloved daughter, Narendra spoke with the media, expressing his belief that his daughter would never have taken her own life, and suspected that foul play was involved.
Moreover, in a heart-wrenching revelation, Preethi's father recounted how his daughter had confided in him over the phone about the harassment she was enduring from a senior member of the college. In response, he contacted officials at the Matwada police station, who in turn met with the college authorities the following morning. Subsequently, the principal and the hospital superintendent were separately counselled, and the accused, Saif, was reportedly instructed to maintain a distance from Preethi. Based on complaint, the police has arrested her senior Dr Saif, who is a second-year PG student in the same college.
Police rules out love angle
Speaking to The Mooknayak, ACP B. Kishan, who is leading the investigation into the tragic case of Preethi, revealed that the accused has been charged under the provisions of the SC/ST Act and the Anti-Ragging Act. The accused has been taken into custody and sent to judicial custody to await further proceedings.
In addition, the investigating officer was quick to refute any suggestions of a love affair between the accused and the deceased, stating that "it was only a matter of high-handedness in junior senior ragging".
A talented girl from the Banjara-Lambada community
Preethi, completed her MBBS from Kamineni Medical College in Nalgonda and secured a PG seat at KMC and joined duty on November 20 last year. She was amongst the very few women in the Banjara-Lambada community to achieve such a feat.
A Grim Reminder of the Payal Tadvi Case
This is not the first case where a scheduled tribe doctor had to commit suicide because of the high-handedness of senior doctors , in May 2019 Dr Payal Tadvi a student of post graduate degree course in gynaecology at Topiwala National Medical College and BYL Nair hospital committed suicide in her hostel room. In her suicide note Payal had mentioned her three seniors Dr Bhakti Mehare, Dr Hema Ahuja and Dr Ankita Khandelwal of harassment.
Following the uproar the Mumbai crime branch-CID had taken over the case and the accused were arrested . The accused doctors were subsequently chargesheeted
However, the accused managed to get the bail from the Mumbai High court after a special court rejected the bail. The High Court granted the trio bail on the condition that they won’t be allowed to go inside the Nair Hospital
However, the Supreme Court had relaxed the condition of the high court and allowed the trio to complete their course at the hospital.
Clearly, no punitive action against erring individuals in the case of harassment of students from marginalised communities only encourages such behaviour.
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