Charge: wife’s clinic pays for husband’s CAA views
The Uttar Pradesh government has been accused of raiding and shutting down an Allahabad-based ultrasound clinic run by a doctor whose husband had joined a campaign against the amended citizenship law.
The Progressive Medicos and Scientists Forum (PMSF) has called the raid and the shutdown an unjustified act by the state government to “teach a lesson” to a doctor whose husband had supported people expressing dissent against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
The PMSF said state officials had on Saturday evening raided the ultrasound clinic of Madhavi Mittal, a postgraduate from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, even though she was out of town for three days. Police arrived on Sunday and sealed the clinic, the PMSF said.
“We believe the sealing is a vindictive step taken by the Yogi Adityanath government to teach a lesson to her husband, Dr Ashish Mittal,” Harjit Singh Bhatti, national convener of PFSM, said.
Mittal’s husband Ashish, who had also studied at AIIMS, is general secretary of the All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha and had extended his support to women who were staging a sit-in against the CAA at Mansoor Park in Allahabad.
This newspaper could not obtain a response from the administration’s medical officer, A.K. Tiwari, who had examined the clinic but a district administrator, Ajay Singh, who had accompanied Tiwari cited a “technical deficiency” to justify the shutdown.
“The medical officer will explain the technical issue, I was there from the law-and-order point of view,” Singh said.
Ultrasound clinics across the country are expected to maintain rigorous records of patients under the country’s law that bans prenatal sex disclosure.
Ashish Mittal said the clinic had the required documentation and its staff had urged the officials to speak with Madhavi on the phone to ask about any additional information they wanted but they declined.
“When a lawyer-friend confronted them, asked them how they could seal a closed clinic in the absence of the doctor, he was told on the sidelines that they had orders to seal the clinic,” Mittal told The Telegraph.
Satyarth Aniruddha Pankaj, senior superintendent of police of Allahabad, told The Telegraph the police had not taken any action against any ultrasound clinic in recent days.
“We don’t know about any clinic which is being sealed. We have not taken any such action,” Aniruddha said.
However, a picture shared with this paper by Mittal revealed that a man in police uniform was present during the sealing of the clinic on Sunday.
“This action of the Yogi Adityanath government marks a new low in the suppression of democratic rights in the state,” the PMSF said in a statement. “They are targeting not only those who are voicing dissenting opinions but even their relatives. This dictatorial, unlawful and senseless act must be condemned by all.”
The PMSF has appealed to all doctors and their organisations to condemn the act and demand immediate de-sealing of the clinic.
It has described as “blatantly patriarchal” the Adityanath government’s act of holding an independent working woman accountable for her husband’s actions.