Dental college students declare strike over abusive HoD

Dental college students declare strike over abusive HoD
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‘Slapping, foul language, ordering household errands routine’

SRINAGAR: The Government Dental College and Hospital, Shreen Bagh, Srinagar, reverberated on Friday with slogans of “Justice” after the college and hospital administration allegedly failed to address the complaint filed by several students against the Head of the Department (HoD) of Orthodontics and Dentofacial.
Students of different classes, identified as Rameez Hassan, Abhishek Khajuria, Mudasir Yaqoob, Gurdev Singh Bali, Zahid Nazir and Manjeet Singh, had submitted a written complaint on January 6 to the Principal of the institution accusing the HoD, Mohammad Mushtaq, of both physical and mental harassment for a period of over two years, apart from making students work at his private clinic and involving them in household chores.
The students, who came out with placards to protest against the college administration, said that their patience ran out on January 4 when Mushtaq allegedly beat and abused a third year PG student, Rameez Hassan. “First of all he abuses and beats male students either by slapping or beating them with a stick and then he uses foul language with female students,” Rameez told Kashmir Reader, adding that the HoD beat and abused him unnecessarily.
Rameez told Kashmir Reader that he along with other students submitted a complaint to the Principal, Riyaz Farooq, so as to seek necessary action against the accused. But the Principal sent them away, saying, “Such issues are negligible and take place in all institutions across India.”
The protesters alleged that Mushtaq is irregular in attending his duties and once he reaches the institution he makes students to do all of his personal work. “As soon as reaches the department, he sends us to carry out his personal errands, which include bill payments, bank transactions, car washing,” said Abhishek Khajuria, another third year PG student. He added, “Our HoD also forces us to get several dental items for his clinic and makes us repair his household implements, his generator, compressor, furniture etc.”
Manjeet Singh, a first year PG student, accused Mushtaq of forcing students to pick up and drop his wife from and to the airport and to pick up his kids from school during working and non-working hours.
The protesters also alleged that Mushtaq is treating patients of his private clinic at the dental hospital. “PG students are asked to accompany his patients, including his friends and relatives, to various departments in the college for treatment and are directed to stay with them till the treatment is over,” Gurdev Singh Bali, a second year student, said. “As a result of this, patients allotted to us have to wait and suffer unnecessarily.”
The anguished students told Kashmir Reader that with no action being taken for the last two months, they were forced them to stage the sit-in-protest. “We don’t know why the Principal is not taking action against him,” said Mudasir Yaqoob, a second year PG student.
Riyaz Farooq, the Principal, was not available for his comments. However, his personal assistant told Kashmir Reader that a committee had been formed to look into the matter. “Once we come up with the findings, we will call a press conference.”
The protesting students seek the intervention of the Minister for Health and Medical Education, Bali Bhagat, and the Minister of State, Health and Medical Education, Asiya Naqash, to address their issue. They also threatened to go on hunger strike till death if the college administration fails to take action against the accused.