Bhagwant Mann on Punjab minister forcing top hospital official to lie down on dirty mattress: 'Situation could have been...'

Punjab Health Minister Chetan Singh Jouramajra has come under fire from several quarters for forcing Raj Bahadur, the vice-chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, to lie down on a dirty mattress during an inspection.

Bhagwant Mann on Punjab minister forcing top hospital official to lie down on dirty mattress: 'Situation could have been...'

Chandigarh: Punjab Health Minister Chetan Singh Jouramajra came under fire from several quarters on Saturday after he allegedly forced the vice-chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) to lie on a dirty mattress during an inspection. After the incident that happened on Friday, VC Raj Bahadur quit from the post and said he had conveyed to the Punjab chief minister the "humiliation" he faced and requested that he be relieved from services as the work environment was not conducive.

"I have expressed my anguish to the chief minister and said to him I felt humiliated," Bahadur told PTI over the phone on Saturday.

When Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann was asked about the incident on the sidelines of an event here, he said such "talkhiyan" (bitter situations) do emerge during work and added, "I feel the situation could have been handled in a better manner."

The incident triggered an outrage and opposition parties and various doctors' bodies, including the Indian Medical Association (IMA), strongly condemned the health minister's behaviour and demanded his apology.

Earlier on Saturday, Dr. Bahadur interacted with reporters in Mohali and said Chief Minister Mann had expressed regret over the behaviour of his minister.

Asked if he will take back his resignation, Bahadur replied, "I told the chief minister whatever happened...The chief minister apologised."

"When you work so hard and put in your best efforts, one does feel low when you have to face this kind of behaviour," the senior doctor said.

Sources said that the chief minister has taken a strong view of the incident and spoken to Jouramajra. Mann is also learnt to have asked Bahadur to continue in the position and meet him next week.

VC Raj Bahadur is a very good friend of mine: Bhagwant Mann

Bhagwant Mann said Dr Bahadur is a very good friend of his. 

"When my father suffered from a spinal cord injury, at that time Dr Raj Bahadur was director of GMCH (Government Medical College and Hospital) in Chandigarh. He is a very good doctor," he said.

The incident happened Friday when Jouramajra was on an inspection to Faridkot's Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, which comes under the BFUHS.

A video clip of the incident that circulated on social media showed Jouramajra place a hand on the veteran surgeon's shoulder as he pointed towards the "damaged and dirty condition" of the mattress inside the hospital's skin department.

The minister is then seen to be allegedly forcing Dr Bahadur to lie down on the same mattress.

Bahadur in the video is seen explaining to the minister that he was not responsible for the facilities, to which the AAP leader retorted, "Everything is in your hands."

The doctor also broke down in tears when state Congress chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring came to meet him to express solidarity.

Bahadur, 71, is a specialist in spinal surgery and joint replacement and is a former director-principal of Government Medical College and Hospital in Chandigarh and has also been the head of the orthopaedic department at PGIMER, Chandigarh.

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