Facing flak over a circular asking its nursing staff not to use Malayalam at work, the Delhi government-run Govind Ballabh Pant Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (GIPMER) on Sunday revoked the order and said strict action will be taken in the matter.
The institute’s Medical Director Dr Anil Agarwal on Sunday said the order had been withdrawn. “This circular dated June 5, 2021 which was issued by Nursing Superintendent, GB Pant Hospital without any instructions or knowledge of the Hospital Administration and Delhi Government stands withdrawn with immediate effect,” a new order issued by Dr Anil Agarwal read.
The June 5 dated circular issued by the Nursing Superintendent of GIPMER had stated that “A complaint has been received regarding Malayalam language being used for communication in working places in GIPMER. Whereas maximum patient and colleagues do not know this language and feel helpless causing a lot of inconveniences. So it is directed to all Nursing Personnel to use only Hindi and English for communication otherwise serious action will be taken.”
The circular invited criticism from the medical fraternity, political leaders and the public.
Meanwhile, the Delhi action committee of Malayali nurses has condemned the circular. “We have seen on social media that circular is withdrawn but we did not receive anything in writing. We also asked apology from the concerned person,” said Fameer CK, Representative of Delhi action committee Malayali nurses.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi slammed the move and urged authorities to stop discrimination among Indian languages. Sharing a piece of information about the circular, Gandhi wrote, “Malayalam is as Indian as any other Indian language. Stop language discrimination!”
The BJP said this was ironic that it requested Kerala for oxygen when in need it during the Covid crisis and has now attempted to snatch its peoples’ right to speak in their language with each other.
BJP spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said the “withdrawal in a haste clearly indicates we have an anarchist state government for whom the Constitution of India and its recognized language do not matter.”
He added, “It is an irony that when this government was in need of oxygen, the request was directed to Kerala and now comes their attempt to snatch their right to speak in Malayalam amongst each other.”
Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor also tweeted, stating, “It boggles the mind that in democratic India a government institution can tell its nurses not to speak in their mother tongue to others who understand them. This is unacceptable, crude, offensive and a violation of the basic human rights of Indian citizens. A reprimand is overdue!”
Congress MP KC Venugopal wrote to Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan and GIPMER seeking his intervention in the matter and to take immediate disciplinary action against those who issued such a “highly discriminatory circular and denying the basic fundamental rights guaranteed by our constitution.”
“…It is unbelievable that such an order has been issued by an institution denying basic fundamental rights to the frontline health workers working there,” wrote Venugopal.
(With agency inputs)