A top ABVP leader and oncologist who was a few months ago accused of harassing an elderly neighbour in Chennai by urinating at her doorstep and dumping used masks there has been appointed to the board of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Madurai.
The government notification announcing Dr Subbiah Shanmugam's appointment was issued on Tuesday by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The Head of the Surgical Oncology Department at the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital in Chennai also leads the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the BJP's youth wing, in Tamil Nadu.
"I have not committed any crime. The accusations are minor. This appointment is purely based on my academic credentials. I am already member other AIIMS and an IIT, " Dr Shanmugham told NDTV.
In July, he had been accused of harassing his 62-year-old neighbour after she asked him to pay for using her parking slot at the apartment complex. The woman's family had said he even harassed her over the phone. They presented CCTV footage as evidence implicating the ABVP National President. The police had then registered a case of woman harassment, causing mischief, and disobedience of quarantine.
"We've not withdrawn the complaint. The appointment is unacceptable," a family member of the elderly woman said today.
Dr Shanmugham's appointment to the board of AIIMS Madurai has now sparked a political furore. DMK leader Kanimozhi today asked if the move by the Central government was an endorsement of the oncologist's indecent behaviour.
Is this an endorsement of indecent behaviour and also an incentive for other BJP cadres to follow suit? pic.twitter.com/E8ViIMOl6a— Kanimozhi (கனிமொழி) (@KanimozhiDMK) October 28, 2020
Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) MP R Ravikumar said, "Is this appointment not disrespectful to women? A person notorious for harassing women being appointed to the Board is unacceptable. I request the Centre to remove him."
A senior officer in the Tamil Nadu government told NDTV, "This appointment is an embarassment. The Centre should have done due diligence."
With many questioning the legitimacy of a state government doctor's affiliation to a political party, the officer, who didn't want to be named, added, "It is unethical. The doctor should quit government service and join politics or quit the party position. It's difficult for the government to prove."