A group of doctors at ZH Sikder Women’s Medical College and Hospital in Dhaka has confined and beaten a journalist for more than two hours as he asked about a cardiologist’s designation.
Dr Mohammad Safiul Azam released Prothom Alo Special Correspondent Shishir Morol on Tuesday only when he managed an undertaking that it was the journalist’s “unauthorised interference” to ask him about his designation.
Morol told bdnews24.com from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital where he was receiving treatment that Dr Azam confined him from 10:30am to 12:45pm and beat him up ‘mercilessly’ with the help of his colleagues and assistants.
He was chasing the doctor as he had information and evidence that Dr Azam wrote ‘associate professor’ in one place and ‘professor’ in another place of his practice.
It takes about five years for a doctor to be promoted as a professor from associate professor.
Morol said he had also information that Dr Azam without resigning his government post was practising at Sikder Medical College Hospital “full-time”.
Dr Azam also practises in a clinic in front of the Chittagong Medical College and Hospital where Morol said he wrote, “Associate Professor of Chittagong Medical College Hospital and Professor of ZH Sikder Women’s Medical College”.
“I tried to contact him on mobile but he would not receive. Then I sent an SMS and he replied from another number. Finally he gave me time to come today (Tuesday) through his telephone operator Abu Sufian and talk to him in person.
“But when I went to his room (on the ground floor), he (Dr Azam) along with two other doctors took me to a separate room within his room number 101 and started beating me up,” Morol said.
“Later Abu Sufian also joined them,” he said, adding that they were threatening him.
“One identified as Dr Sazzad was saying that he was a student leader of Barisal Medical College. He used to shot people before he became doctor.”
The journalist said he could not inform anyone as they snatched his phones, wallet and everything he carried.
“But they returned everything when they released me after taking my signature on a Tk 50 stamp paper that read ‘I would not do it in future, it was an unauthorised interference’ on my part’.”
“It was all planned,” he said, “I get it now”.
Morol has filed a case at Hazaribagh Police Station against Dr Shafiul Azam and
Abu Sufian, OC Mainul Islam told bdnews24.com.
The OC said they were
trying to arrest the duo.
Dr Azam could not be reached on his two mobile phones for comments.
However, Sikder Group’s Director Operations SQ Islam Mohon told bdnews24.com that they would not take responsibility for the behaviours of “an individual doctor’.
“It’s has got nothing to do about the management. I rushed to the spot when I heard (the incident) as our MD is not in the country and I talked with the journalist and made the doctors say sorry for this untoward situation,” he said.
Mohon said they would take actions against the doctor “if government investigates and finds that he is also in the government job”.
“Why would we take responsibility for an individual doctor’s misdeed?” he asked.
As a special correspondent, Morol used to cover health issues for the Bengali daily.
Bangladesh Health Reporters’ Forum (BHRF) condemned the attack and asked the authorities to “arrest the culprits”.
They will also stage a human chain protest in front of National Press Club at about 10:30am on Wednesday.
BSMMU duty doctor Saiful Islam said there were “red” marks of injuries in his body, particularly in the chest.
He said he would need rest “but nothing serious”.
There have been widespread attacks on journalists in recent months.
Intern doctors at Rajshahi Medical College and Hospital beat a number of journalists when they went there to look into an allegation of a patient’s death due to negligence.
Similar attacks happened at Dhaka Medical College and Hospital and Mitford Hospital.
However, Bangladesh Medical Association on Monday in a press conference apparently blamed journalists for campaigning against doctors.
They called an hour’s work stoppage for Wednesday between 12pm and 1pm across Bangladesh and said specialists would not see patients for two hours at the chamber on Thursday.