The Union Cabinet was reshuffled on Sunday. After the reshuffle, voices of discontent were raised over the induction of Uttara Kannada MP Anant Kumar Hegde in Union Ministry. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi opposing Hegde’s entry in the Union Ministry. In a letter, dated September 5, IMA national president K.K. Aggarwal has urged the PM to reconsider his decision as the MP had in January allegedly assaulted doctors, including Dr. Madhukeshwar Hegde, in a private hospital in Srisi over the alleged delay in treatment of his mother.
Hegde was in the news for assaulting doctors, after CCTV images of the January 2017 incident involving Hegde went viral. He was booked for causing damage to property in medical facility, and under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint), 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of peace), and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), reported Bangalore Mirror.
“Sirsi police did register a suo motu case against Mr. Hegde on the basis of evidence from CCTV footage, but even today no evidences have been recorded or CC TV footage coverage put on FIR record. The FIR also did not have the name of all the three culprits. The Sirsi Association of Medical Consultants has also filed a complaint in the local court asking for a fair and free trial and requested the court to direct the police to record the evidences,” the letter said. “Instead of taking any action against him or getting a fair enquiry done, he has been inducted into the Union Cabinet and rewarded instead,” Dr. Aggarwal wrote in the letter.
“The IMA, comprising over 3 lakh doctors, thought that after taking over as the minister, the MP will first apologise for his misdeeds to the medical profession. But there is no sign of that. Further giving him the Skill Development and Entrepreneurship portfolio has sent another wrong message to the society. Is indulging in violence and not apologising the ‘new skill’ to be taught to entrepreneurs?” the doctor asked in the letter.
“On one hand, Suresh Prabhu has been shifted on grounds of moral responsibility for the train mishaps, but on the other hand a tainted man has been made a minister. By inducting ministers like Mr. Hegde, a wrong message has gone to the professionals especially the medical fraternity. We are disturbed by this and request you to take appropriately revise your decision and get the incident investigated,” the letter concluded.
Here it is worth mentionging what Altnews.in, a self-proclaimed “anti-propaganda site that acts as an antidote to fake propagandists”, has written in a story listing several Tweets by Hegde in the past that provides an insight into his mindset. His assertion of the social media platform where he articulated Islamophobic and anti-Church views have been detailed. Hegde also made the historically contentious claim that had it not been “for Buddhism, we (India) would have had an Akhand Bharat (United India) and Islam would have met a more stiff resistance in the desert itself!”
The politician has previously also faced multiple cases of rioting and inciting violence. In 1993, he was first accused of rioting, unlawful assembly and promoting enmity, when he was allegedly involved in Bhatkal riots, The Indian Express reported. However, Modi is clearly unaffected by, if not unaware of, Hegde’s controversial past.
By Uday India Bureau