Dr Payal Tadvi, 2nd-year gynaecology student, belonged to Bhil Adivasi Muslim community. She was found hanging from the ceiling of her room on May 22 2019. Her family had accused three senior doctors of caste discrimination that led to the suicide of Dr Tadvi. The three doctors are in judicial custody since then. A charge sheet filed by the Mumbai police this week has substantiated her family ́s claims about the role of the three doctors in the suicide of Dr Tadvi.
The charge sheet includes 180 statements of Payal´s colleagues, other staff members and seniors of the hospital. One of the crucial statements is that of Payal’s friend, Snehal, who has told the police that Payal was harassed by the accused who targeted her for belonging to a Scheduled Tribe, the Bhil Tadvi community. In addition, the charge sheet also has the suicide note that was retrieved from Payal’s mobile phone.
A three-page suicide note written on civic hospital notepaper was found by the Mumbai police team. In the letter, She has named the three accused Dr Hema Ahuja, Dr Bhakti Mehare and Dr Ankita Khandelwal, for her and her friend Snehal ́s condition. The letter details her daily ordeal under the hands of the three senior doctors and how her complaints were ignored by the Department head. Payal said that the accused harassed them in front of everyone, patients and staff, almost every day.
Full text of Dr Payal Tadvi’s suicide note
“I am really sorry mom and dad to take away my life. I know how much I mean to you all and also you are work to me, but no, at this stage everything has become unbearable. I cannot stand a minute with them. From last one year we have been bearing them hoping one day this will end. But now I can only see the end there is no way out of it really I cannot find way out it. I’m stuck each and everyday is similar to as days are just passing off but we are moving nowhere why this is so? What is the personal thing between us that is causing you to trouble us?
I have made this decision after trying everything out. I found out no one is there to stand for us, support us in this department. In fact it is all our fault, or we are at fault has been concluded. I have chosen this branch with all passion cause I always wanted to be gynaecologist. I step into this college hoping I will get to learn under such good institute. But people started showing their colours. Initially me and Snehal didn’t come forward and said anything to anyone. The torture continued to the level that I could not bear. I complain against them but it showed no result. Condition was similar and it was still going on. Now be it a mistake or now we are so teared apart in front of everyone, patients, staff almost everyday.
I have lost my professional life, personal life, everything because it has been declared by them that they will not let me learn anything until they are here in Nair. I have been purposely posted in PMC ward so that I cannot learn about the ANC and Gynec patients. I am prohibited from handling labour room from last three weeks because they don’t find me efficient. I have been asked to stay out of labour room during OPD hours. Also they asked me to do HMIS entry on computer they do not allow me check patients, all I am doing is clerical work.
Despite putting all efforts, still the condition not improving but I am becoming mentally disturbed. Environment is not healthy to work and I’ve lost hope for anything to change cause I know it won’t. No output will come out if standing/speaking up for yourself. I hold Hema Ahuja, Bhakti Mehare and Ankita Khandelwal responsible for condition of my and Snehal. What they have made is today or what they have portrayed us in front of SHO, lecturers head of unit and hea did department. I have tried a lot come forward many times spoke with madam about this but nothing has been done. I literally do not see anyway. I can only see THE END.
With apology to my parents and beloved ones.
I don’t know how Snehal will cope up with these three. I am also sorry to leave you with them.”
Mumbai crime branch breakthrough with the suicide note
The charge sheet has revealed shocking details of how the three doctors tried to destroy evidence from Payal´s hostel room. Dr Khandelwal and Dr Mehare were the first people to reach the hostel room where Tadvi killed herself and take her body to the trauma ward, after which they returned to the room. Police believe that the original note, along with the photos, were destroyed by the accused. The police had earlier presented CCTV footage in court, showing them enter the room. The police claimed they were trying to destroy the suicide note and other evidence. The photos of the suicide note retrieved from her phone by the forensic lab corroborate the witness statements and her family claims of caste discrimination and abetment of suicide.
Doctors Hema Ahuja, Bhakti Mehare and Ankita Khandelwal are named in the charge sheet with the police claiming that they committed offences under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act, Information Technology Act and abetment of suicide, destruction of evidence and common intent under the Indian Penal Code.