Govt ‘kidnaps’ VC from airport, doctor from hospital

The government has started to abduct people it does not like and threaten them like the Maoists did during the conflict period.
Less than a week after Vice Chancellor (VC) of Nepal Sanskrit University Kul Prasad Koirala leaving for Canada was detained at the airport and taken to Baluwatar on Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli’s instructions, Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa has had a doctor detained from the Trauma Center and held captive at his ministry in his name.
Dr Bhoj Raj Adhikari received a phone call saying Home Minister has called him even as he was seeing patients at the hospital at around two Tuesday afternoon. A few ministry officials soon came and took him to the ministry. Minister Thapa did not meet him even though he was picked in the name of the minister.
He was kept alone in a room for around an hour before Minister Thapa’s political advisor Surya Subedi entered the room at around 3:30.
Dr Adhikari told Setopati that Subedi put pressure on him to falsely raise degree of disability of a few Maoist cadres. “You’ve not done a good deed. Don’t hurt the great fighters of People’s War. It will not be good for you,” he quoted Subedi as threatening him immediately after entering the room. He refused to prepare false reports violating the code of conduct.
Dr Adhikari said he was terrorized when he was kept alone at the room for an hour after being picked without knowledge of anyone in the hospital or his family. “Nobody was informed before taking me. I was kept at the room for around an hour like a prisoner. Nobody came to meet me or tell where I would be taken and who I will meet. I was very frightened for that one hour,” he confided.
“Subedi questioned me for an hour like the police question detainees and put pressure on me to prepare false reports. I told him that I will not sign a false report at any cost,” he said.
The government provides disability report to injured persons. Such reports are re-evaluated every five years. The government gives allowance and provides special benefits including quotas for employment based on such reports. The benefits are proportional to the degree of disabilities.
Such reports are re-evaluated at government hospitals where the doctors see whether their situation has improved or worsened since the last report was issued. Around five Maoist cadres had reached the Trauma Center at around 11 Tuesday morning for revaluation. They went to Dr Adhikari’s OPD room and put pressure on him to raise their degree of disability. They returned back after Dr Adhikari told them that disability degree cannot be raised arbitrarily.
Those individuals returned in a group of around a dozen persons around an hour later. They locked the OPD room from inside and again put pressure to prepare new reports as they dictated. “You can imagine how I would have felt when around 10-12 persons came and locked the room from inside,” he added. “But I continued to refuse and said I won’t change the reports under pressure.”
Dr Adhikari somehow managed to find courage to stand up from his chair, open the bolt and go outside. He received the phone call from the ministry soon after he left the room to have lunch.
Subedi has confirmed that he had Dr Adhikari brought to the ministry and asked him to prepare new reports. “Some of the conflict victims do not have hands, and others legs. A few comrades went to the hospital for new reports as degree of disability was less in the previous evaluation,” Subedi told Setopati. “They repeatedly came here complaining that the doctor threatened and humiliated them. I called him to the ministry to find out what had happened.”
“I did not threaten him. I discussed with him in a nice manner and saw him off offering him tea to drink,” he claimed.
“I told the doctor to prepare good evaluation report. The benefits being given by the state should be increased if possible and should not be cut. I spoke only the things that they said. I did not say anything from my side. That is all I said. How long do you want to question me?” Subedi told Setopati.
Dr Adhikari, however, claimed that he was put under pressure to falsely raise the degree of disability.
“The government had better bring a policy to raise benefits for people with disabilities instead of putting pressure on us in this manner. They don’t have to threaten the doctors in this manner if the benefits are increased,” Dr Adhikari opined.
Dr Adhikari reported the incident to Director of the Trauma Center Dr Pramod Upadhya on return from the ministry. The Trauma Center has since issued a notice stating that disability will not be evaluated until further notice.
Dr Upadhyay said VC of the National Academy of Medical Sciences, the parent organization of the Trauma Center, will also be informed in writing.
“A doctor on duty has been detained in the name of Home Minister. This is unacceptable and scary,” Dr Upadhyay told Setopati. “We have stopped disability evaluation fearing our own safety.”



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