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Suspended for questioning mask shortage, Andhra doctor ends up in mental hospital
An Andhra Pradesh government doctor, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of N95 masks for doctors treating Covid patients, was admitted to mental hospital here on Sunday, a day after he was manhandled by policemen for creating nuisance on a city road.
According to doctors at Government Hospital for Mental Health, the preliminary investigations show Dr K. Sudhakar Rao is suffering from acute and transient psychosis and he is being treated for the same.
After the late Saturday incident at Akkayapalem area in the city, the police had shifted the doctor to King George Hospital, where the doctors found him under the influence of alcohol.
Hospital Superintendent G. Arjun referred him to the government mental hospital.
The police booked the doctor under the Indian Penal Code's sections 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 427 (Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees).
A statement from the office of the Visakhapatnam Police Commissioner, said on receiving the information on Dial 100 about a person creating nuisance at Akkayapalem, police reached the spot and identified the man as Dr Rao, who was suspended from government hospital, Narsipatnam. According to police, he behaved rudely with a traffic head constable, snatched his mobile phone and threw it away. He allegedly behaved aggressively with an autorickshaw driver and others and caused a traffic jam.
Police claimed that as the doctor could have harmed himself, he was taken into custody and since he was in an inebriated condition, he was shifted to the KGH for an alcohol test. The doctors found him to be suffering from mental problems and referred him to Government Hospital for Mental Health.
Rao, civil assistant surgeon, Area Hospital, Narsipatnam, was suspended two months ago after he publicly criticised the government for failing to provide N95 masks to the doctors treating Covid-19 patients.
The video clips of police tying the doctor's hands behind, dragging and manhandling him triggered outrage with the opposition parties, doctors' associations and Dalit groups condemning the police action.
Main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Left parties alleged that the inhuman treatment was meted out to the doctor for questioning the government.
TDP President N. Chandrababu Naidu demanded that the policemen who manhandled the doctor be arrested and booked under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Naidu's son Nara Lokesh termed the YSRCP government as "anti-Dalit".
Meanwhile, family members of the doctor on Sunday called on him at the mental hospital. His mother Kaveribai broke down on seeing him. She alleged that he was suspended for demanding N95 masks for doctors for their protection and now his life was being spoiled by branding him mentally unsound. Stating that there is a threat to his life, she demanded that he be shifted to a private hospital.
His wife Manjari said ever since his suspension he was very upset. The family members blamed the government for his current condition.
Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee condemned the attitude of the police with Dr Rao. APCLC President M. Subba Rao demanded that the policemen who attacked the doctor be booked and arrested and the unfair suspension of the doctor be immediately revoked.