A day after ordering the acting dean of a government hospital in Nanded, where 31 people died in 48 hours, to clean a filthy toilet and urinals, Shiv Sena MP Hemant Patil was charged with a crime by Maharashtra police on Wednesday.
Following a complaint from the acting dean, S. R. Wakode, about allegations of hindering the public servant from doing his duties and defaming him, the lawsuit was filed. The Hingoli MP visited Dr. Shankarrao Chavan Government Medical College and Hospital on Tuesday and assessed the situation amid uproar over the fatalities, which included several newborns, from September 30 to October 2.
In a widely shared video, Patil is shown giving Wakode a broom and ordering him to clean the toilet and urinals installed on the wall. “The government spends billions, yet I’m hurt by what I see here. The restrooms haven’t been cleaned in weeks. The hospital’s wards have locked restrooms. According to Patil, a member of the Shiv Sena headed by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, there is no water in the toilets.
Following a complaint from Wakode, a FIR was filed on Wednesday morning against Patil and 10 to 15 other people under the Indian Penal Code sections 353 (assault or criminal force to prevent a public servant from performing his duties), 500 (defamation), and 506 (criminal intimidation), as well as the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act), an official said.
Patil requested to be shown the bathroom as he made his way to a ward at the hospital. The allegation said that Patil ordered the dean to clean the toilet because it was filthy. It stated that once the video of it became viral, the dean was misrepresented.
At the Dr. Shankarrao Chavan Government Medical College and Hospital in the Nanded district of central Maharashtra, up to 31 deaths—including newborn deaths—have been documented in the 48 hours from September 30. In response to criticism of the failing healthcare system, Maharashtra’s Minister of Medical Education Hasan Mushrif pledged an investigation to determine the reason of the fatalities and that conditions at the hospital will change within the next 15 days.