“I strongly refute all these allegations, as they have been motivated by some vested interests, who do not want to face work culture, especially when pandemic was claiming human lives”
A senior Doctor, accused of alleged sexual harassment, misconduct and sharing improper content has not been so far ‘touched’ by the Health and Medical Education Department, Jammu and its Financial Commissioner, Jammu despite receiving multiple written complaints filed by the victims.
In a recent revelation, Dr Jitendra Mehta has been accused of harassing the Junior Residents (Doctors) of the Government Medical College, Jammu. Not only this, he has also ‘misbehaved’ with the senior Doctors and Principal of Government Medical College, Doda during his posting in the GMC&H’s Control Room.
In a written complaint filed by the Resident Doctors to the Principal, Government Medical College, Jammu, with a copy sent to the Finance Commissioner, Health and Medical Education (copy available with The Typewriter), it is claimed that Dr Jitendra Mehta is working as a dictator and has been abusive. Complaint filed against the said Doctor reads as under;
“With due respect, we the residents of Government Medical College, Jammu want to bring into your kind notice that we are posted at Covid Control Room and Covid wards from 14-09-2020, but despite our efforts, Dr Mehta and Dr ADS Manhas are working as dictators,” reads the letter, adding, “Their behaviour towards us is rude and unbecoming. We are continuously getting harassed there and day by day it is getting difficult for us to work there.”
It further states, “Even our respective HODs had given us replacement after one week of our duty, but Dr Mehta and Dr Manhas are not letting us go. They want us to work continuously for one month, but that will be difficult for us as it will affect our studies.”
Moreover, a written complaint against Dr Mehta was also submitted before Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education Department, Atal Dulloo regarding alleged misbehaviour with the Principal of the GMC Doda, wherein the complainant had plainly demanded strict action against the doctor.
A senior official of H&ME Department, wishing anonymity admitted that Dr Jitendra Mehta has been a ‘controversial’ figure since the last couple of years.
“During his (Dr Mehta’s) posting in GMC Jammu, he harassed Junior Doctors and ran a dictatorship, following which the junior doctors submitted a written complaint to the then Principal GMC Jammu, but due to unknown reason, no action has been taken against the doctor,” said official, adding that Dr Mehta has been ‘unfair’ and ‘impolite’ to the senior doctors as well.
Speaking to The Typewriter one of the doctors, who had been allegedly harassed and humiliated by Dr Mehta disclosed that the Dr Mehta is highly influential, especially in the political circles.
“You can gauge the buoyancy of Dr Mehta, who instead of accepting his mistake threatened us that no one can take action against him on the basis of our complaint,” said doctor, wishing anonymity, adding “On our complaint to the higher ups, Dr Mehta claimed that no one has ever dared to take action against him because everyone knows him in the political galleries.”
Doctor maintained that Dr Mehta even guaranteed that their complaints against him won’t ever be pursued in the Health and Medical Education Department, said doctor, adding, “Dr Mehta even threatened resident doctors that if they told this to anyone, he would damage their career.”
In another instance of high handedness, Dr Mehta misbehaved with the Principal, GMC, Doda and HoD, PSM Department GMC, Jammu.
According to the sources in the Health Department, Dr Mehta is ‘habitual offender’, who deliberately picks fights with fellow doctors and always try to demean students.
“Dr Mehta had called Dr Dinesh Kumar at midnight on September 15, 2020 and used unparliamentary language over the issue of a doctor’s duty. Their telephonic conversation had gone viral and was largely condemned by the public,” said sources, adding, “A written complaint of this incident was also forwarded to the Financial Commissioner, H&ME Department, but instead of taking suitable action for using unacceptable words, Financial Commissioner, Atal Dulloo did not pay any heed towards the issue.”
It is pertinent to mention here that recently, Dr Mehta was accused of sexual harassment, wherein a letter duly signed by over a dozen Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers was forwarded to the Finance Commissioner, Health and Medical Education, but no concrete action has been taken so far.
Talking to The Typewriter, Under Secretary to the Government, Health and Medical Education, Mohammad Iqbal Lone said that none of the complainants (alleged victims of sexual harassment) appeared before the Chairperson of the Internal Complaint Committee (ICC) of H&ME Department.
Following a complaint of alleged sexual harassment by twelve ASHA workers against the in-charge doctor, the government rolled in an inquiry and also constituted a committee under Satvir Kaur Sudan, Director General (P&S).
Also read: Explained: Why H&ME Department Needs To Identify ASHAs ‘Victim of Sexual Harassment’ https://thetypewriter.in/explained-why-hme-department-needs-to-identify-victims-in-asha-workers-of-sexual-harassment-case/
Government Health and Medical Education Department vide letter No HME/HRM/K/06/2020-I, dated 23-12-2020 has written a letter to Satvir Kaur Sudan, Director General (P&S), asking her to place the complaint of ASHAs Welfare Association against Dr Jatinder Mehta (NHM) Nagrota, J&K, Jammu before Internal Complaint Committee (ICC) of the H&ME Department, constituted vide G.O No. 818-JK (HME) of 2020 dated, 23-10-2020 read with G.No. 874-JK (HME) of 2020 dated 26-11-2020 for registering, enquiring and disposing of the same in terms of Sexual Harassment of Women at workplace (prevention, prohibition and redressal) Act, 2013, but nothing has been done so far.
Talking to The Typewriter, Dr Jatinder Mehta said that due to Covid-19, he was given assignments like establishing a laboratory in Kashmir, but when things started getting worse in Jammu, he was called back to Jammu.
“I along with Dr ADS Manhas were assigned to establish a control room and to control Covid induced deaths in Jammu,” said Dr Mehta, adding that their priority was to take care of patients, as when they reached Jammu, they saw that patients were not taken care of. “They were not provided with medicines, no oxygen cylinders and even doctors were hesitant to visit the wards,” said Dr Mehta, adding that at that time, they had only two options either to watch deaths as mute spectators or to do something tough.
He said that there was hue and cry in Jammu. “We firmly dealt with the situation, not only junior doctors, but senior doctors also wrote letters against me claiming that we are harsh and rude, they even demanded our resignation,” Dr Mehta added that when you take system bluntly, some vested interests will certainly work against you.
When talked about the episode of Principal, GMC Doda, Dr Mehta said that in the time of pandemic, Dr Dinesh was unnecessarily removing staff. “Our priority was to streamline things at hospitals to avoid deaths,” he said.
On Asha workers allegations, he said that this is a very shameful allegation. “There is no direct interaction of my office with the ASHA workers. Sexual harassment can be done with an individual or two, but you cannot expect it to be done with over dozen workers,” clarified Dr Mehta, adding that this complaint was also filed with the Lt Governor.
“A lot of investigation was done in this regard, but no substantial outcome has been made so far. Not even a single complainant has been identified,” said Dr Mehta, adding, “I strongly refute all these allegations, as they have been motivated by some vested interests, who do not want to face work culture, especially when pandemic was claiming human lives.”
When the matter of harassing doctors by Dr Mehta was taken up with Principal, GMC Jammu Dr Shashi Sharma Sudan told that the incident had happened before her joining as Principal, so she was not aware of this incident.
Despite repeated attempts, Financial Commissioner, H&ME Department Atal Dulloo was not available for comments.
Copy of the complaint is appended herewith.