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AMCH official admits lapses

Dibrugarh, May 15: Three days after his suspension, Athindra Kumar Adhikari, principal of Assam Medical College and Hospital, today owned moral responsibility for the security lapses that led to Sarita Toshniwal’s death.

Dispur had suspended Adhikari on Monday, who was “on an official tour to Paris” when the incident took place on May 9.

Addressing reporters here today, Adhikari said, “I take moral responsibility for the security lapses that led to Sarita’s murder. It was an unfortunate incident and I feel ashamed about it. I feel sorry for the events over the past six days.”

He said he had left for Paris on the evening of May 8 for a three-day meet. “I was on an official tour to Paris for attending a continuing medical education programme and had applied for leave on April 11 to the joint secretary,” Adhikari said.

Sarita, a first-year post-graduate student of the gynaecology department of the college, was found dead around 8am on May 9. Within hours of the incident, police arrested a ward boy, Kero Mech, after he confessed to the crime. However, Dipmoni Saikia, a post-graduate second year student of the gynaecology department, was arrested yesterday in connection with the crime.

Asked whether he left for the tour without approval, Adhikari said: “I had informed vice-principal H.C. Kalita and superintendent M. Patowary about my tour.”

On his suspension decision, he said, “I received the (suspension) letter on May 13 but I have nothing to comment because the decision has been taken by the government.”

Adhikari said he had no regrets on the clamour for his resignation by students.

The students and doctors of the college had called off their strike yesterday after a written assurance from the state government regarding fulfilment of their demands.

On Mech’s recruitment, he said, “He was a contractual worker and many contractual workers were appointed at the AMCH and their payments and allowances given by the respective heads of departments.”

Asked about the security in AMCH, he said, “Only eight policemen of the Borbari police station carry out night patrol on the campus. So, there is a lack of security.”

He dwelt on the progress that took place during his over two-year tenure as principal. “I spent two years on the campus and have worked for the development of the hospital,” he said.

Members of the Assam Medical College Students’ Union said this evening that would continue their protest by wearing black badges during duty hours even after the end of the strike.

Rananjoy Sharma, president of the union, said, “We called off our strike after the government assured us that armed forces would be deployed on the AMCH campus within 50 days,” he said.

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