Police have registered a case under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act after a doctor at a private hospital in Barmer district abused a member of a Dalit family for not paying him, although no arrests have been made yet.
According to an FIR registered at Chohtan Police Station in Barmer district, 7-months-pregnant Pemi Devi was admitted to a Baba Ramdev Hospital and Research Centre in Chohtan on October 8 for the delivery of her child. On October 11, P. N. Gupta, the doctor, told the couple- Bharmal and Pemi Devi- that the child will have to be delivered early. The couple was first asked to pay Rs. 50,000 to the hospital and buy medicines worth Rs. 20,000. On October 16, the doctor asked the couple to pay him Rs. 85,000 and take the child back. When they asked the doctor to furnish an authorised bill, he allegedly hurled casteist abuses at them.
After the newborn was discharged, he was referred to a hospital in Jodhpur but the family continued to get threats, after which Uga Ram, brother of Bharmal, filed an FIR. The case was registered under section 3.1 of the Atrocities Act on November 17. Intentionally insulting and intimidating a person from the SC/ST community with the intent to humiliate them in any place within public view is punishable with a sentence of imprisonment ranging from six months to five years with or without a fine.
In a telephone conversation with YKA, Ram alleged that his family members are now being pressurised through phone calls to withdraw the case. He, therefore, wants the accused to be arrested soon. The child died on November 28 but he said the hospital in Jodhpur too did not give them any documents citing the cause of death.
Investigating Officer for the case, Chohtan DSP Parbhati Lal, told YKA on December 31 that he has completed the investigation and sent the file to the Superintendent of Police for further orders. He refused to divulge any further details of the investigation but admitted that there is an audio CD in which abuses can be heard being hurled. Asked about the alleged threats to the complainant, Lal said that he was not aware of the threats.
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