Officials say it’s routine affair, deny link to rape-murder case

Two doctors of Aligarh Muslim University’s Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital have alleged that their services have been terminated because they unofficially gave statements to the media regarding the Hathras rape-murder case.

AMU officials, however, said it was a “routine affair” and had nothing to do with the Hathras case.

Dr. Mohammad Azimuddin Malik said he and his colleague Dr. Obaid Imtiyazul Haque’s services as casualty medical officers were terminated by Vice-Chancellor Tariq Mansoor on Tuesday. The termination letter signed by CMO-in-charge S.A.H. Zaidi said the V-C had rejected their appointment to the post of medical officer, emergency and trauma, with immediate effect.

‘Temporary job’

“We understand that ours is a temporary job against leave vacancy, which is renewed every month. My month ended on October 10. Since then I have been made to understand by seniors that I am supposed to continue. I have been signing on medico-legal cases. If I have been removed with immediate effect, who is going to appear in the cases of the last 10 days?” Dr. Malik said.

He further said that after his opinion on the forensic lab report in the rape-murder case got published, he was asked to give a written explanation. “I refused to give any statement but when a journalist asked my personal opinion, I told her that chances of getting an important finding is more if the sample is collected within four days of the incident than when it’s collected after 11 days,” he said in the letter.

Dr. Malik alleged that he and Dr. Haque were being targeted because they spoke to the media. He said he had learnt that their in-charge was called and reprimanded by the V-C.

He further said the newspaper wrongly mentioned his designation as “Chief Medical Officer”. “There is no such post in JNMCH. There are 11casualty medical officers and there is one in-charge,” said Dr. Malik, who has specialised in ophthalmology this year.

AMU spokesperson Shafey Kidwai said the V-C was reconsidering the decision, and if the CMO in-charge asked for an extension of their services, it would be taken up. “It is a routine affair. Their services are temporary so there is no question of termination or suspension. They were appointed when the cases of COVID-19 were increasing, against leave vacancy. Now that the pressure has eased and some of the regular doctors have resumed duties, their services might not be required. It has nothing to do with the Hathras probe,” said Professor Kidwai.

Sources claimed the university’s decision to reconsider seemed to be an afterthought because of the medico-legal cases.

Hamza Malik, president, Resident Doctors’ Association, demanded that the two doctors should be “reinstated within 24 hours” or else the RDA would take a “big decision”. “We have been assured over the phone that they will be reinstated, but we would not relent until we get it in writing,” he said.

In a related development, a CBI team quizzed the JNMCH doctors who treated the rape-murder victim, on Monday. Later, they questioned the four accused in the Hathras case at Aligarh Jail on Monday. A senior police officer said that one of the accused had claimed to be minor on the basis of his high school mark sheet.

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