Who Killed Dr. Balmukund Bharti in AIIMS?
In 2006, a 3 member committee under Prof S.K. Thorat, Chairman, University Grant Commission, was instituted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India to look into the complaints of caste-based harassment against Dalit and Adivasi students at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.
The committee came with a report, on 5th May, 2007, that brought out the horrors of caste-discrimination suffered not only by the students but also by handful of SC and ST faculties in the Institute that is considered to be one of the country’s premier educational institutions.
However, the government did nothing and singularly failed to initiate any action to punish the perpetrators or implement any of its recommendations.
He hanged himself to death in his hostel room after a failed attempt on his life just few days before.
The AIIMS administration came out with the standard version of ‘a student who went into depression as he was not able to cope up with the rigorous academic environment of AIIMS’.
The police also closed the case by forcing the father, who had come to take the dead body of his son, to sign on the statement that ‘he has nothing against AIIMS administration’.
But the truth is that Dr Balmukund Bharti was killed much before he committed ‘suicide’. Suicide was a mere formality.
Abused, humiliated, harassed by professors, beaten up severely by his seniors in the name of ragging, completely alienated from the ‘mainstream’ campus life, all due to his Dalit background, Dr Bharti died a very painful and slow death that stretched into the entire period of about 6 years of his stay in AIIMS.
Please watch his parents and other relatives speaking, the only ones whom he confided about his ordeals, in the documentary ‘The Death of Merit’ here –
The testimonies of his parents and relatives about the struggle of Dr Bharti is no surprise, not even his suicide, if one goes through what Prof Thorat Committee wrote, in 2007, three years before his death.
Instead what surprises us is the guts and perseverance shown by the rests of Dalit and Adivasi students who have to endure utmost humiliation, dehumanization and violence and yet survive in a campus, that is supposed to train them to become doctors to serve the humanity.
Perhaps, Dr. Bharti’s death was not inevitable, perhaps he could have survived and become a doctor to fulfill his dreams if the authority would have cared enough and acted on the report of the Prof Thorat committee, three years before.
The Prof Thorat Committee
Prof Thorat Committee was constituted by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, on 12th September, 2006. It was given the mandate to look into all matters connected with the caste-harassment and included following as its members –
1. Prof S.K. Thorat (Chairman, University Grant Commission)
2. Dr K.M. Shyam Prasad (Vice President, National Board of Examinations)
3. Dr. R.K. Srivastava (Director General of Health Services)
Hostility of AIIMS Administration against Prof Thorat Committee
The Prof Thorat Committee, before starting its investigation, sought the help of the Director of AIIMS and administration to arrange for the students, faculty and other staff to meet the members of the committee.
The members met directly with the Director and requested to display notices informing the students about the committee and the place of meeting for interaction on notice boards. However, to its utter surprise, the committee did not receive any response from the students and faculties on the stipulated date and time.
Later it found out that its plea was completely ignored by AIIMS administration and the Dalit and Adivasi students, faculty members were not even informed about the Committee.
So hostile was AIIMS administration, particularly its Director P Venugopal, towards any probe on the caste-discrimination in its campus that he earlier, quite arrogantly, had refused to even respond to the written notice sent by top government official from higher education department asking for a status report on the cases of caste-discrimination.
According to a news report carried by The Times of India, a National English Daily, on Nov 14, 2006, written by Manoj Mitta –
When the then higher education secretary Sudeep Banerjee asked AIIMS director P Venugopal in writing on September 26 for a status report on the reported humiliation of Dalit and tribal students in the premier medical college, he did not reply at all.
When the government appointed a three-member committee under UGC chairman Sukha Dev Thorat on September 13 to probe untouchability in AIIMS, Venugopal did not allow the panel to put up notices on the campus inviting aggrieved persons to come forward with evidence.
Manoj Mitta further writes –
The vice-president of National Board of Examinations, Shyam Prasad, who is part of the Thorat committee probing caste discrimination in AIIMS, alleged that Venugopal was not providing the “required cooperation” to the panel to discharge its function.
The administration, for instance, disregarded the committee’s request to put up its notices on the campus. Those who still approached the Thorat committee revealed that they were being “dissuaded” by others from coming out with their tale, said Prasad at the institute body meeting.
As a result, the Thorat Committee has not been able to submit its report although it was supposed to give its findings by October 13.
Due to this hostility and complete non-cooperation shown by AIIMS administration, Prof Thorat committee had to finally contact the students directly and was forced to initiate its proceedings outside the premises of the AIIMS.
In its report the committee clearly mentions this on page number 8 –
To verify the complaint, of notice not being displayed by the authority, the Chairman and one of the members visited AIIMS and discovered that the notices were not displayed on notice boards at prominent places, which reflect the non-cooperation of the authority with the Committee, at least in the matter of displaying the notice on the board.
It had earlier been given out that some of the students who had complained were harassed by the authority. Hence, there was a general fear among the students to meet this committee against the wishes of the administration. Therefore the committee decided on the method of direct contact and examination outside the premises of the AIIMS.
It is indeed very shocking to realize that a government institution that is completely funded by public money was so blatantly refusing to heed to the Government of India and was not willing to cooperate with a committee that was instituted by the government itself to probe something that so violently violate the Indian Constitution that is the caste discrimination perpetrated on a section of its own students.
Caste discrimination by AIIMS Faculties
In AIIMS, examination system consists both of summative examination and internal assessment. The internal assessments comprise 50 percent of all marks in a final examination. Given that half of the assessment is through internal assessment and that it is done by the concern teachers, there is a potential and scope for faculty to misuse this privilege, if he/she wishes to do so.
Prof Thorat Committee tried to get information on the experiences of SC and ST students with AIIMS faculties through a survey and personal interviews.
On page 19 of its report, the Committee mentions –
In survey, the questions were asked, whether SC/ST students face discrimination in one to one teaching session, laboratories and practical demonstrations and the extent of consultation with teachers by SC/ST students and the general problems faced by them. Besides we also talked to a cross section of students through personal discussions/interviews.
While deposing before the committee, an overwhelming majority of Dalit and Adivasi students spoke about the lack of consultation and interaction with their teachers and narrated on how they completely avoided students from particular social background while teaching.
On page 20, the Committee writes –
It emerged from these responses that the SC/ST students do not receive the kind of support that the other students received from their teachers. Non-cooperation is experienced by students in various ways. Given the dependence of students on teachers for learning and skill, the lack of adequate support to the SC/ST reflect in performance and psychological problems, which further leads to lower performance and frequent failure.
Apart from complete apathy shown by the faculties in supporting SC and ST students in their studies, they also discriminate these students in one to one teaching session in the labs, in practical demonstrations and while evaluating their theory papers.
About 88 percent of Dalit and Adivasi students, in their responses to Prof Thorat Committee, told that the teachers do not give them marks that they deserve in written exams and their papers are not examined properly.
The similar fate awaits them in practical and viva voice exams. The students alleged that during practical and viva voice, the discrimination is quite blatant and open. About 92 percent of SC and ST students who deposed before the Committee mentioned about casteist behaviours of faculties and told of being routinely humiliated in practicals and viva exams.
84 percent of the SC and ST student respondents reported that the examiners had asked about the caste background of the students either directly or indirectly and their grades were affected because of it.
Personal testimonies of Dalit and Adivasi students on the discriminatory behaviours of AIIMS faculties
The Committee report carries many personal testimonies from Dalit and Adivasi students on this. Two of them are as follows:
Case I (Page 23 of the report)
After the final professional examination, one of the professors asked me as to which place I came from. I told him that, I am from Ghaziabad. In front of a senior resident (doing DM in IRCH), he said that, this fellow is a bad character (badmas) and he need to be stopped from clearing the examinations. Thereafter I was continuously failed in medicine. I may mention that I had never failed in that subject during the preceding three semesters. I had also scored 60 percent marks in this course in pre-final examination.
When I checked my question paper, I felt that nobody had probably checked my examination copy. Then I repeated this examination after six months in which I again failed and also failed in subsequent examination. I kept on giving examination for next one year and finally cleared after one year. In the end I passed and cleared four papers including this paper in one attempt. This was possible because the concern doctor had gone on a leave and the examination was taken by another faculty. The repeated failure had damaged my image and affected me psychology.
Case II (Page 23-24 of the report)
The students belonging to reserve category are failed always. Last year no scheduled caste students were allowed to clear in first year final professional examination. For instance Sujo had got 70 percent in 1st professional and 55 percent in 2nd professional examination, but was not cleared in last professional examination. Due to this he suffered from mental depression and received psychological treatment.
Many students from first year were not cleared in the final examination. In fact those who did well in earlier examinations were kept hanging in last examination. It appeared that by not clearing the deserving SC and ST students, the institute used them as buffer, under the pretension that in any case nobody will raise any objection as there is stereotype about the under-performance of reserved category students.
Reflecting on the horrific experiences of SC and ST students and rampant discrimination by AIIMS faculty members, the committee observes on page 26 –
… the problem seems to be deep rooted. This relates to the very attitude of some high caste teachers, if not all, who carry with them the attitude of non-cooperation, and at times of contempt, which results in differential treatment towards SC/ST students.
The AIIMS authority needs to address this issue more carefully. This probably requires some education to make the faculty of AIIMS more sensitive to the problems of SC/ST students and their responsibility to be supportive.
Denial by the faculty will not serve the purpose. If the SC/ST students feel differently, in that situation, there is a need for open dialogue with them in a non-intimidatory environment and come with some understanding to build confidence in the system.
Problems faced by Dalit and Adivasi Students in Hostels
On page 30, the Prof Thorat committee observes –
There were reports in the press that over a period of time a social division has emerged particularly between the SC/ST students and other students, and it has accelerated in the wake of anti-reservation agitations on the AIIMS campus Based on the statements by the students and some faculty, the media reported that this increasing caste division has reflected in segregation in (a) allocation of rooms in the hostels (b) in sharing, dining facilities (c) associated living (d)participation in cultural events and (e) games.
We used two methods to capture these aspects. As mentioned above, we canvassed a questioner and received responses from twenty five students. We also interviewed students, who were willing to share their experiences. The committee visited these hostels and met students in indicated areas. Their testimonies are also recorded. The identity of the students is, however, protected.
One of the media reports that was quoted by Prof Thorat committee to initiate the probe into caste-discrimination suffered by Dalit and Adivasi students by fellow ‘upper’ caste students was the one carried by The Telegraph on July 05, 2006 by Charu Sudan Kasturi that clearly mentions 22 SC/ST students being forced to change their rooms to live in ‘ghetto’ after suffering from lots of threats, abuses, physical violence and humiliations.
Ghetto in medical hostel – Quota students in AIIMS allege being driven into a corner
By CHARU SUDAN KASTURI, The Telegraph, July 05, 2006
New Delhi, July 4: Parts of All India Institute of Medical Sciences hostels are turning into SC/ST ghettos. Reserved category students said they were being “hunted out of the remaining rooms” by upper-caste students and driven to two floors of the hostels.
An engraved message on the door of Room No. 49 (Hostel 1) bears testimony to their concern. The inscription, spiced with abusive language, asks the room’s occupant Umakant a scheduled caste student to “get out of this (hostel) wing”.
With almost half the reserved category students since seeking reallocation of their rooms, the message seems to have worked.
The top floors of Hostel No. 4 and 5 of the country’s premier medical school have 32 rooms in all, of which 27 are occupied by SC/ST students. Of the 250 students at the institute, 55 are SC/ST.
Hostel records show that 22 of the students currently in the “ghetto” moved there only in the wake of the surcharged atmosphere of the anti-reservation agitation that started with the human resource development ministry unveiling plans for a quota for the Other Backward Classes. “Many more want to shift there but cannot because there aren’t enough rooms for everyone,” said a student.
AIIMS authorities said they would take “necessary action”.
Sub-dean Dr Sunil Chumber said he had himself faced discrimination during his college years. “My room was broken into, and things destroyed, because I came from a reserved category,” he said.
The SC/ST students said they were scared of the consequences of their identities becoming known for speaking out against discrimination.
A senior resident doctor, who belongs to the scheduled castes, said: “We are so scared here because the director (P. Venugopal) himself is supporting them (the anti-quota agitators). We have nowhere to go to complain.”
Resident Doctors’ Association president Dr Vinod Patro, however, said there was “no discrimination on the AIIMS campus”. “It is a figment of their imagination,” Patro, who has been leading the anti-reservation agitation at AIIMS, said.
Some SC/ST students alleged that to keep them from revealing the discrimination, they were often “failed in examinations”, which acted as a threat.
“Every year on an average five of the 11 reserved category students are held back,” a resident doctor said, citing his own case, where he was one of those failed in the first year.
AIIMS rules say a student who fails twice over the five years of study cannot pursue his or her post-graduation.
The students said that for fear of their careers being destroyed they did not want to “get into the bad books of the authorities”.
“The students have no choice but to bear this humiliation quietly and pass out in five years,” said Dr Vikas Bajpai of the Medicos’ Forum for Equal Opportunity, a pro-reservation group.
Despite many such news reports from national dailies, the AIIMS administration absolutely did nothing on this and dismissed the issue with utter disdain by citing that these students changed their room due to ‘seepage, disturbance from TV rooms’ etc.
In a letter issued by AIIIMS, Hostel Section (dated 03/08/06) [signed by Mrs K. Dhaka (Sr Warden), Prof S. Datta Gupta (Dy Suptd Hostels), Prof J.S. Titiyal (Dy Suptd Hostels), Dr. S.S. Kale (Dy Suptd Hostels), Dr. Minati Chowdhury (Dy Suptd Hostels), Prof G.K. Rath (Suptd of Hostels) and the Director, AIIMS] merely mentions this and closed the case for ever –
During last one week we have gone into the details of various students asking for change of rooms in different under-graduate gents hostels. 29 students have requested for the change. It may be mentioned that majority of the requests were due to seepage, disturbance from adjacent TV rooms, staircases, mess etc and health problems.
After meeting with concerned students and visiting the hostels, Prof Thorat committee found out that 29 SC and ST students have shifted to the top two floors of hostels 4 and 5 leading to segregation on caste line. These students were forced to shift to these hostels by a sustained pressure in the form of humiliation, abuse and even violence by the ‘upper’ caste students.
The committee recorded testimonies of the concerned students and has provided the transcripts in the annexure with its reports.
One of the transcripts of such testimonies (Annexure 3.2, page 7) belongs to the above case that clearly debunks the reasons given by the AIIMS administration for Dalit students shifting their rooms due to ‘seepage’ etc and tells us clearly on what was happening inside AIIMS hostels with the Dalit students.
Some parts of that transcript is posted below.
What are your experiences here please tell us?
My room was in shambles. So I shifted my room to 1 UG hostel but in 4-5 days my room started getting locked.
For how long it was locked?
Someone would lock it and go and then I will call my friends to get it unbolted. This continued for some time and in weekends I will go to home.
On one Saturday I had gone home and when I came back on Sunday evening a lot of abusive words were written on my door/
What was written?
It was written ‘Fuck off from this wing –bastard leave this wing’.
Did you complain?
I complained to the office in Hostel section, gave a written complaint.
There was no action. Then I went to them. Then they were called and asked why they have done this. No other action was taken.
Did they know who had done it?
I had mentioned the boys whom I suspected. I had told the probability of these boys being the culprits.
Even then they took no action?
No action was taken.
So then you were compelled to shift here?
Yes. There was always tension there … could not study
Are Dalits here more in numbers?
Yes. There are many.
Was there any physical violence?
Yes, physical violence was present when I had gone to complain again. They came to my room, when I was eating my food and manhandled me. They caught my collar and pushed me onto the bed, sir.
Was it because you had complained?
Did you inform this to the administration?
After that what did they do? No action was taken.
How many students are there who have similar experiences?
There are many junior students. All of them have to face all this in different ways.
Now read what AIIMS did in this issue –
The administration called up the culprits and ‘amicably’ settled the issue by making a ‘grand’ and ‘magnanimous’ gesture of asking the victim to ‘shake hands’ with the culprits, asking the hostel secretary to assure that he would ‘ensure continued friendship between them’ and ‘allowing’ the Dalit student to shift his room.
Given below are the official minutes of the meeting held in the Hostel Officer (Room No. 13) at 3.00 pm on 21st April 2006.
All India Institute of Medical Sciences
F. No 14 – 10/2006/HOSTEL Dated 21.04.2006
Mr Umakant, resident of room no – 49, hostel no 1, had complained (letter dated 17.04.06) regarding “abusive and threatening note” written on the door of his room. This matter was verified by the hostel section through the concerned Junior Warden. Mr Umakant mentioned the names of two students: Mr Amol Raheja and Mr Nishant Goyal as the likely suspects.
The following officials attended the meeting.
1. Prof G.K. Rath (Supdt of Hostels)
2. Dr. S. S. Kale (Dy Suptd of Hostels)
3. Dr S. Datta Gupta (Dy Suptd of Hostels)
4. Mrs Bhupinder Paul (Dy Suptd of Hostels)
5. Mrs Krishna Dhaka (Sr. Warden Hostels)
In addition, the following students were called and were present during the meeting.
1. Mr. Tarique Zaman (Hostel Secy)
2. Mr Umakant
3. Mr Sushant Swaroop Das
4. Mr Amol Raheja
5. Mr Nishant Goyal
During the meeting Mr Umakant also intimated that his room was bolted from outside on this morning (21st April, 2006). This prevented him from attending his classes. Mr Nishant Goyal also complained that even his room and that of Mr. Amol Raheja was bolted from outside around the same time. When their rooms were opened by their friends, Mr Umakant and Mr Nishant Goyal had an altercation with each other. Both accused one another for bolting the rooms.
The students were reminded of their duties, adherence to discipline tolerance towards each other and were told to concentrate on their studies. Although there was no proof that Mr Amol and Mr Nishant had written the note on the door, based on the complaint and incident on that morning they were instructed to refrain from committing such acts in future.
A stern warning was given and the hostel secretary was intimated that the institution would neither tolerate nor condone or allow any such acts of indiscipline. The guilty would be severely dealt with.
The matter was amicably settled with Mr Nishant and Mr Amol giving in writing that such incident would not recur and Mr Umakant allowed to shift to his earlier room (Hostel 2, Room 43).
In the end Mr Umakant, Mr Amol and Mr Nishant shook hands with each other. Mr Tarique Zaman (Hostel Secy) assured that he will ensure continued friendship between Mr Umakant, Mr Nishant Goyal and Mr Amol Raheja.
(Signed by all the officials mentioned above)
So ‘amicably’ was this issue settled and so ‘severe’ was the punishment of making accused ‘shake hands with the victim’ that just coming back from the above meeting, they again went to the room of the Dalit student and physically assaulted him. The above Dalit student narrated his pains before Prof Thorat Committee just few months after these incidents.
The ghettoisation, physical violence, abuses against SC and ST students by fellow ‘upper’ caste students is a norm in AIIMS and has an old history (the above incident happened in April 2006) but its pace gathered momentum during the anti-reservation protests by ‘upper’ caste students that started in AIIMS from 13th May 2006.
Many Dalit and Adivasi students suffered physical violence, abusive comments and other forms of victimisation during this period that has also been well documented by Prof Thorat Committee. Despite the numerous complains of caste-harassment by Dalit and Adivasi students, no action was ever taken by the AIIMS administration.
In some such cases, the AIIMS administration did form investigating committees but were happy settling the cases ‘amicably’ without ever giving any punishment to the guilty, just like in the case of Mr Umakant mentioned above.
These internal committees used direct threats, pressure tactics to force our students to take back their complaints and even tried to scare the complainants about the ‘possible violent repercussions from the accused’ if any action was taken against them.
Given below is a letter written to the Director, AIIMS by three Dalit and Adivasi students on their complete lack of confidence in the committee for addressing complaints regarding caste discrimination (Annexure 3.1 M, Prof Thorat Committee report) –
AIIMS, New Delhi
Date: 4th September, 2006
Sub: Loss of confidence in the committee for addressing complaints regarding caste discrimination
We the undersigned want to bring it into your attention that the committee appointed to look into the complaints regarding ongoing caste discrimination in the campus is totally biased and we have lost faith in the integrity of the committee regarding redressal of the complaints.
First of all, the committee has been inefficient in taking appropriate action despite having promised us a time bound action course. This has been done intentionally as it is evident from their proceedings while hearing the issue.
Secondly, excessive pressure tactics are being used against us to take back our complaints and strike a compromise, instead of transparent enquiry into the matter.
Finally things got beyond our modesty when a committee member passed a statement as “… even if any action is taken against the accused, how that will assure you that the accused would not resort to physical means …”
The entire above mentioned have led to complete loss of faith in the committee as the committee is biased and is clearly favouring the accused. Kindly take appropriate action regarding the issue.
(Signed by 3 Dalit and Adivasi students)
Ragging and Caste
Even though ragging is officially banned in the AIIMS, there appears to be a one month period of unofficial ragging to which the administration turns a blind eye. Ragging in AIIMS has serious caste overtones and much severe forms of humiliation including physical assault, open casteist abuses are pretty common against new entrants from SC and ST students in AIIMS.
The Prof Thorat Committee observes (page 36) –
To a question, whether you have faced caste based ragging in the hostel, all SC and ST students answered in positive. It appeared that humiliation of SC and ST students based on caste background is fairly open.
The Committee provides many transcripts of interviews of Dalit and Adivasi students conducted on the issue of problems faced by the new entrants in AIIMS from these categories including ragging. Along with the interviews, the committee also provides many written testimonies of the students in annexure 3.1 and 3.2.
Some of these are as follows –
I. Excerpts from the transcripts of the interviews
1 – They used to call us to their rooms and order us – Tell ten reasons why you should get reservation, why you don’t deserve to be in AIIMS.
If you don’t tell then we will beat you. We will lock you.
There were some cases where rooms were locked.
Lots of abusive words were written outside someone’s room.
Which room is that?
That is in the second hostel.
2. Sir, the general perception is that those who are lower caste, those who are from reserved category are taken on humanitarian ground.
The extent of discrimination is such for boys from lower castes, if anyone associates with them, he is also neglected by his group with him.
During ragging time it is instilled into the minds of all. Everything starts from there only.
You are this. And to treat them as such.
We are here and you are here from reservation and should not be here.
During ragging they (‘upper’ caste freshers) are made to sit higher on the chairs/beds.
They tell you, ‘you have not come through merit but through reservation’. So they receive differential treatment.
Basically students from reserved category also don’t fight back and that is the reason no punitive action has been taken. They have seen the trend.
The trend is that, they have to take the viva voice.
If you complain, in a roundabout way the problems come back to you.
Most teachers have preformed mindset. It is already formed. It is bound to happen. You can pick up any results and examine them, students from reserved category are failed often.
We know that we have done a very good paper but we are still failed.
We are treated as buffer. Can’t pass everyone that is why we are hanged because we come from reservation.
3. Sir, there was one of my batch mate. In 2003 there was a fight.
It was caste-based. He was severely injured in that.
We went to the SC-ST chairman. We went to many of the leaders – all the places that we could reach.
The decision which was taken by then director was very strange. He said that we will rusticate all including the one who was beaten and was near to death.
Then we had to accept to take back the complaint. Hence no one was punished.
II. Excerpts from written testimonies
1. I, (name), MBBS student at AIIMS batch 2002, want to tell you about the wrath of caste-discrimination faced by me in this institute. Sir, the caste discrimination started from the very first day I entered the hostel.
I was beaten up, humiliated on my caste and mentally tortured. Even my batch mates who belong to upper caste used to pass abusive comments on my caste.
The wing mates in my hostel even don’t want to talk to me and when I came in this room i.e. 3/45, they wrote on my door, “Fuck off from this wing, nobody likes you”.
They did not even allow me to use the carom board which was for all the students and they wrote a note, “Everybody can use this carom except 3/45”.
This is not the only case but many of my friends who belong to the SC and ST face caste discrimination in many ways.
2. Sir, this is to inform you that, I (name), am AIIMS UG 1st year MBBS student. Through this letter I want to bring to your notice the caste-based discrimination faced by me during the initial period, in the institute.
In the initial period I was segregated from the class by students of higher caste and my room was getting locked sometime by seniors from higher caste.
Even during the ragging period we were ragged separately and our ragging is more severe as compared to our fellow student of general category.
3. I (name), UG student of 1st year MMBS at AIIMS, did not stay in the hostel for the first month (due to ragging). I joined the hostel in September and from the day I joined, my room was locked from outside by some general category students. Every day I have to call my friend (name) to open my room.
After few days, his room also started getting locked. Then abusing started. We were abused in the name of caste in groups and when were alone.
After 5 days of joining my hostel, one senior Shrey Modi (5th semester) came to my room and threatened me for leaving the room and said that if I don’t do then they will torture me in future too.
On 6th September, in the evening, some seniors named Nikhil Gupta, Anand Venkatraman, Cherriyan, Nitin Mishra, Gandharv Goyal, Sanjeev S. Nagpal came to my friend’s (name) room and threatened us for physical torture.
On next day we complained against the guilty to director and we were assured for action within 24 hours but nothing was done and our names were disclosed. The guilty, then, started trying for compromise.
They threatened us for taking back complain. They started coming in groups to get our sign that they haven’t done anything.
Even President of Student Union, AIIMS, came and said to change our application from caste-based discrimination to non-ragging based discrimination otherwise pulse will not happen. But pulse happened in normal way.
Rooms were also locked during pulse. Then a committee was formed by the Director having members – TD Dogra, Dr Bir Singh, Dr Rani Kumar – but this committee didn’t give any positive response and also tried for compromise.
Till now 2 months have gone and no action has been taken till now.
Sir, I request you to please take some necessary action to save us from such torture and humiliation.
Discrimination in Mess and Sports
The sufferings of the Dalit and Adivasi students in AIIMS do not end with the discriminatory behaviour of faculties, abuses and violence from the fellow ‘upper’ caste students but in true sense of apartheid extend even in hostel mess and sports ground.
Deposing before the committee, the SC and ST students narrated on how they are not allowed to even enter into some messes that are exclusively used by ‘upper’ caste students and also have to suffer from abuses and physical violence, if they try their hand in certain sports.
The committee observed (page 33) –
There are two categories of messes for the dining of students – general messes and the private messes. The private messes offer greater variety of food and are also more expensive. While the general messes are open to the reserved categories, the SC/ST students faced restrictions in becoming a member and to have access to the private messes. About 76 percent of SC and ST student respondents mentioned that they face restrictions on the joining the private messes.
The sports grounds are also not left untouched by caste virus. In one of the recorded interviews, a Dalit students mentions –
“They have formed a group. They play Basketball. In the beginning from our batch, one boy went to play with them. He received such a treatment…a hostile treatment. They have Basketball; we play Volleyball (laughs)”.
The committee writes in its report (page 36) –
Basketball is the game exclusively for the general category students. Volleyball and Football belongs to reserved category students. The students were asked whether they faced discrimination in various games. About 88 percent mentioned that they do face discrimination in access to Basketball game followed by 60 percent in cricket.