Facing humiliation at the hands of a minister in the AAP government, one of country’s top orthopaedic surgeons and Vice-Chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences Raj Bahadur, sent his resignation to Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Saturday.
Raj Bahadur resigned citing humiliation by Health Minister Chetan Singh Jouramajra during an inspection to Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital in Faridkot on Friday.
Some other medical officers also resigned in protest.
The newly-inducted minister was caught in a row when he asked Raj Bahadur to lie on a “dirty” patient’s bed during the visit.
A video of the minister “forcibly asking the Vice-Chancellor to lie on the bed” has gone viral on social media.
The minister can be heard speaking “rudely” with the Vice-Chancellor over the lack of cleanliness in the medical college, despite explanation by decorated Bahadur, who was on his third extension as the Vice-Chancellor, that they were trying to give proper facilities to patients with all available resources.
At this, the minister got him to lie on the patient bed in the dermatology department.
Infuriated by the misbehaviour meted out to Bahadur, O.P. Chaudhary, secretary to the vice-chancellor, also submitted his resignation.
The incident has triggered anger among the medical fraternity who were demanding an apology from the health minister for his ‘unruly’ behaviour.
In a joint statement, senior vice-president of the Indian Doctors for Peace and Development, Arun Mitra, and Punjab Medical Council former president G.S. Grewal said: “The ills in the healthcare system are because of poor funding by the government and not because of the vice-chancellor.
“The allocation to health in the recent budget is only 3.03 per cent instead of the required 11 per cent. With this meagre amount, one can only expect torn sheets and mattresses on hospital beds!”
They said Bahadur is “a surgeon par excellence who has worked with dedication with no finger to be pointed towards him”.
Condemning the incident, the Indian Ortho Association has demanded an inquiry into the episode.
Joining the issue, Congress legislator Pragat Singh said the Chief Minister should immediately dismiss his Health minister for publicly humiliating one of “our medical luminaries”.
“The theatrics of @AAPPunjab HM heavily cost Punjab. Principal Govt Medical College Amritsar Dr. Rajiv Devgan and now VC Baba Farid University Dr. Raj Bahadur has resigned. These are the very people who saved Punjab during Covid, even when Delhi model had failed. Disheartening!” tweeted Congress state chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring.
Describing Bahadur a learned man who won’t tolerate disrespect, BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa said AAP MLAs are instructed by Arvind Kejriwal to do cheap publicity stunts and humiliate officials or academicians.
“Unfortunate such a committed medical professional Dr Raj Bahadur resigned from the position of VC of Baba Farid University,” Sirsa added.
Responding to the humiliation, Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Badal said he has spoken to Bahadur and expressed solidarity with him, besides assuring full support to entire medical fraternity that is being targeted by AAP ministers and MLAs.
“AAP ministers and MLAs are routinely abusing their power to belittle govt functionaries as per directions of their “trainers” @ArvindKejriwal & @raghav_chadha. I request CM @BhagwantMann to rein in the criminal tendencies of his MLAs or be ready to face the wrath of Punjabis,” Badal tweeted.