Trouble brewing at AIIMS Rishikesh; nursing superintendent beaten up by nurse’s husband for night duty
The police agreed to register FIR only after the All India Government Nursing Federation wrote to the Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya complaining about the assault and obstruction of duties
There is trouble brewing at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Rishikesh after the husband of a junior nursing staff beat up the nursing superintendent over allocation of duties on September 15, 2021, leading to a protest by the nursing staff at the hospital. After refusing to register the First Information Report, the police filed it on September 17 evening.
The nursing superintendent Ghevar Chand, who is on deputation from Railways at AIIMS-Rishikesh, had allocated night duty to all staff members in accordance with the rules. According to the roster, every staff member has to be on night duty for six nights in a month. However, nursing officer Kavita Phogat of the ENT department wanted to be on night duty only for four nights in a month.
“As she is from a politically connected family, she was allowed to be on night shift just for four nights in a month. As a result, other staff members were forced to work longer hours. She was protected by the earlier director, who retired recently. When she was allotted regular duty, she protested. The ward incharge had also informed her that if she wanted to present her grievances regarding her duty, she could give an application, which could be officially considered,” said a senior nursing staff in the hospital. But she did not want to submit a written application.
Several of the hospital staff mentioned that Kavita Phogat has been unduly favoured by the hospital administration. “She joined the hospital in 2019, yet she got hospital quarters. Even those from the 2017 batch have not got quarters yet on the campus. Similarly, the administration has been lax with respect to her duty hours. Ever since this controversy broke out, she has been on casual leave,” explained another nursing staff, who did not want to be identified.
Meanwhile, Kavita Phogat did not discuss the issue with her ward incharge or the nursing superintendent. Instead, she informed her husband, who threatened her ENT and cardiology ward nursing incharges of dire consequences. Additionally, her husband Girendar repeatedly harassed Chand to relax his wife’s duty hours. On September 15, he walked in to the administrative office and abused the staff.
“Kavita was informed about her duty by her ward incharge. But, her husband threatened and abused me on September 14 and 15 over a phone call. On September 15, when I returned to the nursing hostel at 6.25 pm, Girendra Phogat came along with a few men to beat me up. He barged into my room, knocked my head with a container. He assaulted me with a steel kettle which was in the room. I pushed him and ran,” said Chand. The nursing superintendent was immediately transferred to the hospital where his condition stabilised after an hour. He has bruises on his body.
Though Chand, who heads the Railway nursing union, attempted to register an FIR, the police refused to do so. The AIIMS administration, after initially agreeing to register the case, did not do so. The Nursing Professional Development Association (NPDA), the registered nursing association of AIIMS-Rishikesh nursing union, had written to the AIGNF regarding the issue. In the letter, the nursing union pointed out that Girendra Phogat and his cronies had threatened Chand stating that as Phogat had strong political connections, nothing could be done against him.
The police agreed to register the FIR only after the All India Government Nursing Federation wrote to the Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya complaining about the assault and obstruction of duties. The FIR has been registered under Section 3(1) of SC/ST Act (punishment for injury, insult or annoyance to any member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe) and Sections 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 186 (punishment for obstructing a public officer from discharging his/her functions), 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the IPC.
“The complaint has already been made by AIIMS. There will be an inquiry initiated against nursing officer Kavita Phogat. The legal cell of the hospital has been informed of the matter. Please speak to them about the issue,” said Dr Binaya Bastia, the medical superintendent of AIIMS-Rishikesh. The case was filed by Chand and not AIIMS administration.
The NPDA held a meeting with the AIIMS administration on Friday, September 17, 2021. “In the meeting, the administration stated that they would co-operate with the investigating officer. Additionally, the administration will constitute an enquiry committee to find out facts and the relevant office order would be issued at the earliest,” said Prakash Chand Meena, NPDA president. The committee includes Dr Pradeep Aggarwal (AO Nursing), Nursing Associate Professor Dr Rupinder Deol, and the law Officer Pradeep Pandey.