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Hathras case: The strange case of the doctors

By SYED FIRDAUS ASHRAF
October 23, 2020 13:57 IST
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Dr Azeem Malik and Dr Obaid Haque had attended to the alleged rape victim when she was brought to the Aligarh hospital.
They were later sacked, then reinstated.

IMAGE: A candlelight protest over the death of the Hathras gangrape victim in New Delhi. Photograph: Kamal Singh/PTI Photo
 

A day after it was reported that two doctors at Aligarh Muslim University's Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College were sacked over the medico-legal certificate issued to the Hathras victim, the duo have been reinstated in their jobs.

Dr Azeem Malik and Dr Obaid Haque had attended to the alleged rape victim when she was brought to the Aligarh hospital on September 15.

Their services were discontinued reportedly over their interaction with the media and allegedly giving out information about the case.

"I am back on duty though I have not got the (re-instatement) order in my hand yet," Dr Malik tells Rediff.com. "Right now, while talking to you I am on duty and doing my job."

Asked why he had been given an expulsion letter in the first place, he says, "I have no idea why I got that letter, but the fact is that they have taken the letter back now."

Dr Malik had earlier told the Indian Express, 'The samples were taken 11 days after the woman was allegedly raped, while government guidelines say it can only be done up to 96 hours after the incident. This report cannot confirm rape in the incident.'

The teenager was allegedly raped in Hathras on September 14 after which she was moved to the Aligarh hospital on September 15. She was then shifted to a Delhi hospital on September 28 where she succumbed to her injuries the next day.

Asked whether the newspaper report about him was wrong, Dr Malik says, "The reporter had asked me about my personal opinion and I replied to her. I never spoke about the Hathras case. The reporter had asked me technical questions and as a doctor I responded."

Dr Malik refuses to speak about the Hathras case, stating that the Central Bureau of Investigation is on the job "so I would not like to comment on the case."

Obaid Haque was shocked that he had been sacked since, unlike Dr Malik, he had not spoken to the media about the case. His only fault was that he was the doctor on duty when the victim was brought in.

"I don't know how my name was leaked and why I got embroiled in the controversy. I have kept everything confidential and have not uttered a word about the case to anyone till date," says a dismayed Dr Haque.

Like Dr Malik, Dr Haque too has been asked to re-join duty orally, but has not got anything in writing about his re-instatement.

"Inspection of the girl was done by the forensic team. When the investigating officer in the case asked who the doctor on duty at that time was, I said I was on duty and I had issued the file and that was my role," says Dr Haque.

"The dying declaration of the victim is admissible in court and forensic evidence is only supportive evidence," he adds, "so I don't know why everybody is talking about the medical report and not the dying declaration of the victim."

Media reports stated that the Hathras victim had, in her dying declaration, mentioned the names of the four accused, saying that they had raped and assaulted her on September 14.

However, Uttar Pradesh Additional Director General of Police Prashant Kumar told the media a week after the victim's death that she had not been raped.

The controversy has refused to die down and only gets murkier by the day.

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SYED FIRDAUS ASHRAF / Rediff.com
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