Omar tweets, ‘Ministers can defend rape accused but doctor can’t point out the truth’
Srinagar: Unconditional apologies tendered by Dr Amit Kumar for his comment on Health Minister Bali Bhagat’s Facebook post were rejected by authorities at Government Medical College (GMC) Jammu. In response to the show-cause notice issued to him, Dr Kumar had submitted an apology letter to Principal GMC Jammu, Dr Sunanda Raina, but his apology was dismissed as “unsatisfactory”.
Dr Kumar has been sacked from GMC Jammu for violating SRO-525, a recent diktat issued by the Mehbooba Mufti government which bars a government employee from writing on social media against the government. Dr Kumar was Registrar Anesthesia at GMC Jammu.
Following the show-cause notice served on him, Dr Kumar had written to the college principal, “My comment on respected health minister’s post was unintentional and unmotivated without hurting the sentiments/dignity or malign health minister image on the social media platform. Further, it was not meant to bring dishonor to the respected chair (Health Minister). I hereby give my sincere and unconditional apology to the respected health minister. Kindly accept my sincere apology. I assure you that in future I will keep up the dignity of the chair and will abide by conduct rules meant for J&K government employee (sic),” reads the letter dated March 14 which is addressed to GMC Jammu Principal.
Dr Sunanda Raina told Kashmir Reader, “I called Dr Kumar to my office chamber and asked him the reason for his critical comment on the Health Minister’s post. He couldn’t explain his position, and this led to his termination. His apology letter was also unsatisfactory.”
According to sources, Dr Kumar has also been targeted for his activities as leader of the Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) at GMC Jammu.
“He was working as vice-president of RDA and ran many activities for the welfare of doctors and patients. He was a thorn in the eyes of officials of GMC Jammu and the health department. That was why he was sacked,” said a senior doctor at GMC Jammu.
The termination order served on Dr Kumar has drawn condemnation from various quarters. Former J&K chief minister and Leader of Opposition in the state assembly, Omar Abdullah, termed the order as “dictatorial”.
“Ministers can protest to defend rape/murder accused but a doctor can’t point out the truth,” Omar tweeted on Monday. In another tweet he said, “All the doctor did was point out that the lift the health minister claimed to have inaugurated was actually an old lift & for that, he was removed from his post of Registrar.”
Altaf G Haji, former Head of Department of Surgical Oncology, SKIMS Soura, wrote on Twitter: “CM Sahiba forced my resignation from SKIMS for being vocal about how she nominated corrupt friends of Jejajee (Dr Manzoor Rather–US based) as GB members and ruined SKIMS to satisfy ego – Shame.”
Social activist Qurat-ul-Ain Masoodi wrote on Facebook, “If speaking truth is a crime, innocent Dr Amit Kumar should be treated as a criminal! Let’s join hands to raise voice for freedom of expression. Today a Jammu-based medico has been victimized for mere comment on Facebook. Tomorrow it could be you and me getting gagged for speaking the truth.”
Journalist Majid Hyderi wrote on his Facebook wall: “Govt employees’ silence on the sacking of Dr Kumar reflects our collective shame. A minister can use his henchman employed in Kashmir University to write newspaper article against MP Muzaffar Hussain Baig to settle political scores through a proxy, but if Dr Amit Kumar speaks the truth about ailing health sector, he is sacked from services.”