Gynecologist killed in Campus, nothing new: Castevirus 002MH2019


The suicide of Payal Tadvi, a second-year MD student at Mumbai’s TN Topivala National Medical College (TNMC), has sent ripples across the country, putting the spotlight on the issue of caste discrimination and harassment plaguing college campuses.


Pic 01: Dr Payal Tadvi was killed by casteist medical campus

Seven months before she hanged herself, Tadvi, 26, had confided in a friend that seniors were troubling her, even joking that everyone feared she might commit suicide. “Perhaps that was her way of coping with it then,” recalls Romil Kakad, a friend of Tadvi’s from her MBBS course. Months later, on 22 May, Tadvi’s ordeal of harassment, humiliation and punishment would culminate in her committing suicide in her college hostel room. She belonged to the Tadvi Bhil Muslim community, a Scheduled Tribe. Her death is tragically reminiscent of the suicide in 2016 of Rohith Vemula, who was also 26 when he hanged himself in his dormitory room, alleging caste discrimination at the hands of the college administration.

Caste Candle March_Dr Payal

Pic 02: Anti-Caste Candle March in Mumbai’s Marine Drive

Three of Tadvi’s senior colleagues, Ankita Khandelwal (27), Hema Ahuja (28) and Bhakti Mehare (26), have been arrested for allegedly tormenting her about her caste, and abetting her suicide. They were remanded to judicial custody till 10 June. On 4 June, a special court adjourned the hearing of the bail plea to 10 June. Tadvi’s family has accused the college of inaction in spite of verbal and written complaints by them. The family claims Tadvi was prevented from conducting surgeries—a critical part of her training as a gynaecologist—and humiliated over her caste. “My daughter grew up in an environment where no one discriminated against her on the basis of caste or religion. She could never imagine someone would have a problem with her background. She was an optimist,” says Tadvi’s mother, Abeda.

Students from Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Other Backward Class (OBC) backgrounds at medical colleges face caste prejudices in hidden and obvious ways. “When you enter (college), the first thing they ask is your Neet (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) ranking,” says Tushar Pawar, a first-year MBBS student at the Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College in Mumbai.



One Response to “Gynecologist killed in Campus, nothing new: Castevirus 002MH2019”

  1. 1 Satish Shambharkar

    These doctors even though having studied anatomy and physiology must declare themselves aliens since they have different cast of human body than others.
    N. B. Plz correct date of incidence. It’s not 7 months before she hanged…

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