Appeal to save the life of Dr Pradip Das, serving Nandigram victims

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Petition sent to the Governor:

To
Sri Gopal Krishna Gandhi,
His Excellency ,
The Governor of West Bengal.
Raj Bhavan , Kolkata.

Subj. : Life of a doctor, serving victims of Nandigram carnage, is under threat.

Sir,
This is an appeal for your immediate, direct, remedial intervention in an ominous situation, where life of Dr. Pradip Das, posted in Tamluk District Hospital, appears to be under serious threat. And in the process, proper medical treatment of the survivors among the victims of Nandigram carnage, which sent “cold horrors” (as you put it) down your spine, on 14th March, 2007, is about to be seriously jeopardized, if not already so.

These patients, traumatized both physically and mentally, as you know yourself from your own visit on the morrow of the carnage day, felt so much benefited and comforted under the treatment of this devoted and caring doctor that they went into a hunger-strike on April 3,2007, Tuesday morning, when they came to know that the doctor was being prevented from attending them. They broke their hunger strike in the evening only under the solemn assurance of the Hospital Superintendent that Dr. Das would again be allowed to attend them. We, the signatories to this appeal visited them on that very day (April 3) during evening and presented some fruits etc. as small tokens of our concern and regard for them. And during our exchanges came to know the details of what led to their hunger-strike and subsequent withdrawal. The newspaper clipping (from next day’s -4th April, 2007- vernacular daily DAINIK STATESMAN*), enclosed herewith gives correct details of the event, as corroborated by what we gathered directly from the patients (we could not meet the banished doctor himself, nor do we have any contact or personal acquaintance with him till now) the day before. Those among us who live around Kolkata are available ( phone no. and addreses given below) in case you are inclined to hear from us directly .

The long and short of it is, Dr. Das has been prevented from attending those patients through the totally illegal interference by the DISTRICT SARBADHIPATI Sri Niranjan Sihi, a non-medical person, with active (willing and unwilling) collaboration of the Hospital Superintendent and some other doctors attending the victims. Sri Sihi, a party man, directly threatened Dr. Das in uncivilized language, over phone while latter was attending the victims on 3rd April morning. Doctor’s crime was that he refused to be a party to the effort of the hospital administration, obviously at the instance of Sarbadhipati to release (i.e. to get rid of) the patients before they are medically fit to go home. Interestingly, because of the trust of the patients he enjoys, this very doctor’s successful help was taken earlier by the hospital administration to gently persuade those patients to go home, who, even after recovery were reluctant to leave the safety and security of the hospital because of their shaken mental state. Obviously Dr. Das was able to help them gather enough mental strength.

The current unseemly hurry by authorities to empty the hospital of the carnage victims smacks of a cover-up operation aimed at removing this standing evidence to the barbarity let loose on a section of citizens living in Nandigram. And this doctor , because of his obvious unflinching loyalty to Hippocratic oath (usually treated as a mere ritual) , which every doctors has to take before earning the professional right to heal the people , has become a serious obstacle to that cover-up operation. This suspicion is further strengthened by the fact that the hospital superintendent went back on his assurance to the patients that Dr. Das would be brought back. Instead, latter has been served with a ‘show cause’ notice on some flimsy ground. And a canard is being spread around that he is a mad (“pagol”) doctor. The Sarbadhipati himself said so to the newsmen as shown on one Bengali TV channel.(Kolkata TV) . All these may be a preparation either to sack him or to transfer him. Further, because of the media attention drawn to the victim patients’ hunger-strike and its cause, newsmen very naturally interviewed Dr. Pradip Das too.

While giving such interviews (shown in the programme “zero hour” in Kolkata TV on April 5, 2007) some very chilling information tumbled out of doctor’s mouth, which, if true, reveals totally illegal moves by the District Magistrate to deliberately cover up/destroy a part of the evidence of murder and mayhem of the 14th , which is a serious cognizable offence under Indian Penal code . According to Dr. Das, out of 13 dead bodies brought to that hospital from the killing field of Nandigram, he conducted Post Mortem examination of 5. In the interest of criminal justice it is the standard practice to make a video graphic record of the whole process of conducting a Post Mortem examination when the cause of death is under serious dispute. But the District Magistrate (DM) asked him not to do the video record. Dr. Das asked him to give this order in writing, at which the DM flew into rage and said that the former was being obstructive and difficult. It is not clear from the shown interview whether ultimately any video record of any autopsy was done or not.

Dr. Das did not make any anti-government statement during the interview as shown. Rather he explained that he believed that transparency would help establish the credibility of the state government. Obviously DM thought otherwise.

It is not important to make any comment on their respective stands on the issue of transparency. What is really important is that It is a reasonable apprehension that life of Dr. Das is likely to be under serious threat, because the revelation (on above magisterial verbal order on video record) he made is severely damaging to the highest echelons of administration which act at the behest of the political wing of the State govt. right from the district to the state level. And this revelation, if pursued to its logical end, may lead to arrest and prosecution of concerned administrative personnel for attempt to cover up/destroy evidence of a horrendous crime. So the possibility of silencing for ever the voice which, in all innocence, made such revelation is far from a wild flight of imagination. We adults know such things do happen even on occasions which are not as grave in its implication as the present one. And from the way he is being dealt with by district and hospital authorities, combined with this revelation by him, makes it a distinct possibility that his quiet physical elimination in the hands of some ‘unknown’ assassin would be considered the best solution by those to whom he, beyond doubt, has become inconvenient, nay dangerous, though he seems to be hardly aware of it in his interviews to the above-mentioned TV channel.

So, as concerned citizens, we earnestly appeal to you for your immediate personal intervention in this matter, so that,

1) a thorough investigation by some agency which is not under the control of state government is conducted into the alleged attempt by the DM to cover up/destroy evidence.

2) above mentioned Dr. Pradip Das’ life is fully protected till the disposal of the whole matter,

3) the present silly mala fide ‘show cause’ notice against Dr. Das or any transfer/dismissal order, if issued by the time this petition reaches you, be withdrawn forthwith and he be allowed to serve the patients in Tamluk District Hospital at their bedside as before so that patients are not driven out of hospital before recovery.

We would suggest that you may please contact the Kolkata TV to replay the video of the above-mentioned programme for your benefit ,so that you may see for yourself the live interview with Dr.Pradip Das.

With regards,

NAME

1. Ashok Seksaria, 16, Lord Sinha Road, Kolkata-71. Phone – 22828202

2. Subhas Chandra Ganguly, B-22/8, Karunamoyee, Salt Lake, 23590297. Phone – 9433902583. E-mail : subhasganguly@gmail.com

3. Utpal Chatterji Jethia School Road, Nutanpara P.O. Jethia, 24 Pgs (North). Phone – 25880400 / 9331917585

4. Samar Das 39, Barda Basak Road, Kolkata-36. Phone – 9433359646

5. Sanjay Bharati 212 CL/A, Ashok Mitra Road Kanchrapara, 24 Pgs (North). Phone – 32598980

6. Lingraj Samata Bhawan, Bargarh – 768028, Orissa.

7. Samarendra Das Amlapada, Phulbani – 762001, Dist. Kandhamal, Orissa.

8. Jugal Raybir Jateshwar, Jalpaigudi.

9. Krishnakanta Roy Giashil, P.O. Hemtabad, Dist. Uttar Dinajpur

10. Ranjana Roy Giashil, P.O. Hemtabad, Dist. Uttar Dinajpur

11. Chanchal Mukherjee 28/160 Pandey Havelyee, Varanasi

Dated : 11th April 2007

Enclo: A clipping from Dainik Statesman, April 4, 2007