Govt doctor’s suicide: FIR against Mysuru Zilla Panchayat CEO; doctors go on strike

PTI, Aug 23, 2020, 8:05 AM IST

Bengaluru: An FIR has been registered against the CEO of Mysuru Zilla Panchayat for allegedly abetting the suicide of a government doctor on COVID-19 duty in Mysuru district, even as doctors in that city began a strike on Saturday, demanding action against those responsible for it.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka government transferred the CEO Prashant Kumar Mishra with immediate effect.

Police said an FIR has been registered against Mishra under Section 306 of the IPC, relating to the death by suicide of Nanjangud Taluk Health Officer Dr. SR Nagendra on the night of August 20.

They said the case was registered on a complaint from Dr. Nagendra”s father Ramakrishna that the CEO had set additional targets for his son, who had been doing extra COVID-19 related work since January, and threatened to book him under the National Disaster Management Act if he did not meet it.

Nagendra had also approached his higher-ups to supply essential materials, but to no avail, his father said.

He alleged that due to this stress brought on by the CEO, his son committed suicide on the intervening of August 19 and August 20 by hanging himself.

In Mysuru, government doctors began a sit-in demonstration on Saturday, demanding stringent action against those responsible for Nagendra”s death.

Taking note of their protest, Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar appealed to them to go back to work in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everybody has the right to protest in a democracy, but do not put the patients in trouble by protesting during the coronavirus time. Please proceed to live up to people’s belief of “Vaidyo Narayano Harihi (Doctors are God),” Sudhakar tweeted.

He pointed out that the state government has already ordered an inquiry into the death of the doctor and such protests would do no good.

The Indian Medical Association too expressed its anger over the doctor’s death.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, the IMA national president Dr Rajan Sharma and secretary-general Dr RV Asokan said the doctors in Karnataka are extremely disturbed over the incident, “which is only the tip of the iceberg.”

“Due to the constraints of the epidemic, IMA has channelized the anger of the medical profession into two days of black badge protest and a night of candlelight vigil, they said.

They said the doctors” “soft approach” of protest was entirely consistent with the dignity of the profession and the burden of national duty.

“By no stretch of the imagination should it be construed as a weakness. It should be appreciated that the medical profession is in charge of the entire situation, be it in the government sector or the private sector,” they stated.

Heeding to the outrage, the government on Saturday transferred Mishra with immediate effect and assigned the Deputy Commissioner of Mysuru Abhiram G Shankar additional charge of CEO of Zilla Panchayat.

Police had said on August 20 that Dr. Nagendra was found hanging at his quarters in Alanahalli where he had been staying alone.

Nagendra’s family was residing in another area in Mysuru district and he chose to stay alone out of fear of contracting the virus and spreading it, they had said.

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