Make caste-based discrimination at educational institutes a criminal offence: Sukhdeo Thorat
Payal Tadvi, a 26-year old medical student, was found hanging in her hostel room on May 22. The family has alleged the student was harassed because she got admission through the SC/ST quota..
A suicide of a second-year student of the Gynaecology and Obstetrics department of BYL Nair Hospital, Mumbai has brought the focus on the discrimination against the SC/ST students in the educational institutions. Payal Tadvi (26) was found hanging in her hostel room on May 22. The family has alleged the student was harassed because she got admission through the reservation. The police have arrested three doctors for harassing Payal and passing casteist remarks. Police have booked Hema Ahuja, Ankita Khandelwal, and Bhakti Mehare under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, IPC sections for abetment to suicide and Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1999. Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) has also suspended these seniors.
But this case of suicide and discrimination is not just about Tadvi, discrimination against students from the SC/ST community in educational institutions have a long history. The recent and most controversial example is the suicide of Rohit Vemula which even became an issue in the elections. In 2007, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had constituted a committee headed by Indian economist and former chairman of the University Grants Commission Sukhadeo Thorat.
In his report, he recommended several steps to tackle caste-based discrimination is India’s biggest hospital, AIIMS. To help understand the issue, Thorat spoke to Asiaville.