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Punjab health minister under fire for forcing surgeon to lie down on dirty mattress


Punjab Health Minister Chetan Singh Jouramajra has come under fire from several quarters after he was seen forcing the Vice Chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) to lie on a dirty mattress at a hospital.

VC Raj Bahadur has been learnt to have resigned and requested the Punjab Chief Minister to relieve him from services.

The incident happened Friday, when Jouramajra was on an inspection to Faridkot’s Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, which comes under the BFUHS.

A video clip of the incident that circulated on the social media, showed Jouramajra place a hand on the veteran surgeon’s shoulder as he pointed towards the “damaged and dirty condition” of the mattress inside the hospital’s skin department.

The minister is then seen to be allegedly forcing Dr Bahadur to lie down on the same mattress.

Bahadur in the video is seen explaining to the minister that he was not responsible for the facilities, to which the AAP leader retorted everything is in your hands.

After the incident, Bahadur reportedly told Bhagwant Mann that that kind of atmosphere was not conducive for his work, and requested him to relieve him of his duties.

Bahadur, 71, who has an experience of over four decades having worked at various reputed health institutions too, told PTI over phone on Saturday that he felt humiliated after the minister’s behaviour with him.

Asked if he had resigned as the Vice Chancellor, Bahadur said, I have expressed my anguish to the Chief Minister and said I felt humiliated.

Sources said that the CM has taken a strong view of the incident and spoken to Jouramajra. Mann is also learnt to have asked Bahadur to meet him next week.

“When you work so hard and put in your best efforts, one does feel low when you have to face this kind of behaviour,” Bahadur said about Friday’s incident.

Bahadur, a specialist in spinal surgery and joint replacement, is a former director-principal of Government Medical College and Hospital in Chandigarh and has also been the head of the orthopaedic department at PGIMER, Chandigarh.

The minister, meanwhile, drew flak from various quarters, including the Indian Medical Association.

PCMS Association, a doctors’ body in Punjab, too in a statement, strongly condemned the “unceremonious treatment” meted out to Dr Bahadur.

PCMSA said the way the VC was treated was deplorable , its reason notwithstanding.

The body expressed its deep resentment” over the incident and said “public shaming of a senior doctor on systemic issues is strongly condemnable.

Opposition parties hit out at the AAP dispensation over the incident.

Punjab Congress president Amrinder Singh Raja Warring demanded the minister’s resignation.

“Punjab Health Minister @jouramajra’s humiliating behaviour with Dr Raj Bahadur is highly condemnable. Minister must apologise,” Warring tweeted.

“The sort of behaviour meted by the Health Minister to VC Baba Farid Medical University Dr. Raj Bahadur is absolutely uncalled for. @BhagwantMann ji should take strict action against the arrogant Minister, senior Congress leader and Leader of the Opposition, Partap Singh Bajwa said in a tweet.

Otherwise such behaviour will alienate our medical fraternity, he continued in the same tweet.

Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal called out the minister for “reprehensible behaviour.”

“Have spoken to Dr Bahadur & expressed solidarity with him besides assuring full support to entire med fraternity which is being targeted by AAP ministers & MLAs,” Badal said in a tweet.

BJP leader Sunil Jakhar said the treatment meted out to distinguished Dr Raj Bahadur is shameful & totally unacceptable.

“Very sad that Dr Raj Bhadur (sic) has resigned, but he has done what any self respecting person would do, Jakhar said in a tweet.

Now it’s for @BhagwantMann to do what any conscientious CM ought to do-sack the health minister, if that’s what it takes to prevail upon Dr Raj Bhadur (sic) to withdraw his resignation, he wrote.


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