Journalists of Bangladesh Health Reporters' Forum demonstrate before the Jatiya Press Club yesterday, demanding punishment of doctors responsible for the attack on Prothom Alo journalist Shishir Morol on Tuesday. Photo: Star
Journalists yesterday issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the government to arrest the attackers of Shishir Morol, special correspondent at Bangla daily Prothom Alo.
They also threatened to go for a tougher movement if the authorities concerned did not take action against Dr Shafiul Azam of ZH Sikder Women's Medical College and Hospital, its staff Abu Sufian and others for assaulting Shishir.
Newsmen under the banner of Bangladesh Health Reporters Forum (BHRF) made the demand at a human chain programme in front of the Jatiya Press Club.
Meanwhile, the college authorities yesterday suspended Shafiul, head of the cardiology department, over the incident.
Shishir went to the physician's office in the capital's Dhanmondi on Tuesday to verify an allegation that the medic, despite being a government employee, has been working at the private medical college fulltime.
Also, there were complaints that Shafiul used two designations -- assistant professor of Chittagong Medical College Hospital and professor of ZH Sikder Women's Medical College and Hospital -- in the nameplate at his private chamber in Chittagong.
Shishir was confined to a room at the hospital from 10:30am to 12:45pm and was beaten up heavily. The journalist filed a case with Hazaribagh Police Station in connection with the incident. He was released yesterday from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital.
In a statement, Maj Gen (retd) Bijoy Kumar Sarker, principal of the medical college, said: “We regret to the media for the incident. The doctor concerned too regretted the incident.”
The college authorities have already launched an investigation into the incident, and will take further action on the basis of the probe report, added the release.
BMDC SERVES NOTICE
Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council (BMDC) yesterday served a notice on the college principal to explain how it recruited Azam as a professor, who was an assistant professor (acting) at Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH) in 2010.
Physicians said an assistant professor needs to work for three years and have three publications to be promoted as an associate professor.
“The executive and disciplinary committees of the BMDC will sit at 11:00am tomorrow [Thursday] to discuss the issues regarding Shafiul,” BMDC President Prof Abu Shafi Ahmed Amin told The Daily Star.
The BMDC can cancel the medical practitioner registration of Shafiul if the allegations against him were found to be true, he added.
Shishir yesterday filed a complaint with the BMDC about Shafiul Azam.
Sources said Shafiul was transferred to Patia Upazila Health Complex from the CMCH in 2010, but he did not join work there. Later, the health ministry probed the matter, but its outcome was not known.
Contacted, Dr Shah Nawaz, director (admin) at Directorate General of Health Services, said he was not aware of the investigation against Dr Shafiul Azam.
Speaking at the human chain programme, journalist leaders demanded cancellation of Shafiul's registration as a medical practitioner.
A BHRF team led by its president Towfiq Maruf and general secretary Badruddoza Sumon submitted copies of a memorandum to State Minister for Health Zahid Malek and Health Secretary MM Neazuddin at their ministry offices.
The journalists also demanded a law banning frequent strikes by the physicians, withdrawal of restrictions on journalists' entry to hospitals and punishment to doctors who denied treatment to a photojournalist at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital recently.
The state minister assured them of taking legal action against the doctors if found guilty of breaching rules.
Now in the USA, Health Minister Mohammad Nasim condemned the attack on Shishir Morol. He called the journalist and enquired about his health, said a health ministry release.
Prof Iqbal Arslan, secretary general of Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA), said they requested the health ministry to take action against Shafiul Azam as the physician has been working at the private medical college without taking leave of the authorities in the government job.
Action should also be taken against the college authorities for recruiting Shafiul in violation of the BMDC rules, he added.
BMA HUMAN CHAIN
In response to a call by the BMA, physicians formed human chains in front of public hospitals across the country at 12:00 noon yesterday protesting recent attacks on doctors.
The BMA declared the programme following the recent attack by miscreants on an honorary doctor of Dhaka Medical College Hospital at Chankharpool in the capital and assault on a DMCH intern by the attendants of a patient on May 6. On the same day, some students of Dhaka University damaged the emergency department of the hospital.