“Restrictions of students from social gathering is not welfare, it is slavery.”– Resident Doctors’ Association’s President, Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti
Nainital: The branch of one of the most prominent medical institutions in the nation, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), located in Rishikesh has fallen in the blaze of controversy following the issuance of its recent order warning its medical students against holding any social gathering in or out the premises without prior permission.
The controversial order which was compared by many to IPC 144, was soon withdrawn after the student community stood up the announce its displeasure
The order dated 15th September 2018, signed by the Dean of Student Welfare department at the AIIMS Rishikesh stated that no social gathering shall be organised by any students either inside or outside of campus without permission from Dean (A)/Dean (SW).
The order went on to add that discplinary action would come against those who violte the order
The above order by the institution has drawn a lot of condemnation not only from its medical students but also from the New Delhi AIIMS.
The Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) operating in the Delhi AIIMS called the circular ‘ridiculous’ and demanded the order be “revoked with an apology from the dean and the issuing authorities”.
Citing the order ‘draconian’, the RDA President, Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti has urged the medicos at AIIMS Rishikesh to make the union showing unity and challenge this “dictatorship.”
RDA member Dr Vijay Kumar told The Hindu, “We cannot believe that these type of orders are being issued for future doctors. These are the same students who will be entrusted with the lives of critically ill patients very soon. To bring in such a short-sighted order is insulting.”
The students at AIIMS-Rishikesh were “afraid” to speak up against the order said Dr Kumar adding, “There is a sense of bewildered fear, which is no way to run any AIIMS institute. At a time when the world and even India is opening up to cutting-edge technology and advancements, we are stuck with these orders which mock our maturity.”
Educational and research institutes like AIIMS see social gatherings being organised for academic purposes, relaxation of students and sometimes to create awareness, said Dr Bhatti.
“It is a fundamental right to meet and discuss within society. This ruling clearly exploits the fundamental rights of students. There is no clear description as of how many students together will be considered a social gathering. If all students gathered for birthday wishes to their fellow student, can it be considered a breach of permission? Or if 5-6 students together go for a coffee or tea break, is it also considered a social gathering,” asked Dr Bhatti.
“The funny part is that the orders are signed by the dean of students’ welfare. Restrictions of students from social gathering is not welfare, it is slavery,” Dr Bhatti added.
Senior doctors said that such “orders are not for a democratic country like India”. Amidst tremendous stress due to excessive workload and academic pressure, this order has come as a confinement order, implied the doctors. The doctors added, “If institutes confine students to only academics and not allow them to meet friends, then incidences of anxiety, depression and even suicides might increase.”
However, the order was later withdrawn by the Dean following the students’ protest.