India: Government hospital discharges Dalit victims, then reverses decision

Gujarat, IndiaUpdated: Aug 01, 2016, 05:19 PM IST
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With state elections due in just over a year from now, the raging protests are snowballing into a major worry for the state government. Photograph:(Reuters)
The civil hospital in Gujarat today discharged the four Dalit youths who were being treated after they were beaten up by cow vigilantes, but reversed the decision as the community members protested.

"Upon learning that hospital is forcing these youths to go home, several Dalit leaders rushed....Though doctors claimed all four were fine and could go home, we found none of them was in the condition to even walk. One of them was vomiting," said Jignesh Mevani, a Dalit leader.

Ashok Sarvaiya, Vashram Sarvaiya, Bechar Servaiya and Ramesh Servaiya, all residents of Mota Samadhiyala village of Una tehsil of Gir-Somnath district, were beaten up by some cow vigilantes when they were skinning a dead cow on July 11.

"We registered a strong protest, after which the hospital authorities said they were ready to keep the four youths till they recover completely," said Mevani.

On July 25, these four youths were discharged from Rajkot hospital as doctors said their condition had improved. But they were rushed to the civil hospital here next day after developing serious complications.

"First, they were forcefully discharged by Rajkot civil hospital despite knowing they were not keeping well. Now, Ahmedabad civil hospital meted out same treatment. We suspect authorities are doing this due to political pressure," alleged Mevani.

However, hospital superintendent MM Prabhakar defended the decision to discharge the youths.

"They have received 21 days of treatment at various hospitals till now. This is enough time for such patients to recover. We did various tests such as CAT scan, MRI, blood test and x-ray. All the tests (results) were normal," he said. "We decided to discharge them based on these reports and doctors' observations. However, some people made an issue and asked us to keep them for some more days. We accepted the demand. Otherwise these patients are doing well and can go home," Prabhakar said.