A doctor and a staff of ZA Sikder Women’s Medical College Hospital today held Daily Prothom Alo special correspondent Shishir Morol captive for over two hours at the hospital and assaulted him.
Shafiul Azam, head of the cardiology department, and Sufian, an employee of the hospital, allegedly slapped and kicked the special correspondent of the daily and confined him to room-101 until 12:45pm from 10:30am, the victim said.
Shishir was admitted to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University in the afternoon.
Shishir said he had gone to the hospital to investigate an allegation that Shafiul Azam, an assistant professor at Chittagong Medical College Hospital, had been working fulltime at ZA Sikder Women’s Medical College Hospital without taking leave from CMCH.
Earlier, when he had sought comments on the matter from Azam over the phone, the doctor asked him to meet him at the hospital.
“Accordingly, I went to interview the doctor,” Shishir told The Daily Star.
In his first information report filed with Hazaribagh Police Station, Shishir said, "As I told the doctor that you use assistant professor, associate professor and even professor as your designations in your nameplates and that I have documents on these, the doctor got angry and punched me. He then started slapping and kicking and called in others."
Shishir said, “More and more people came in and confined me to another room. On the way to the room, they took away my mobile phone, identity card and wallet.”
Shafiul Azam and Sufian beat him up again in that room and threatened to shoot him dead.
Shishir somehow managed to make a call to his colleagues, who informed Hazaribagh police of the matter.
Sub-Inspector Shukhen rescued Shishir from the hospital.
Shishir said before the rescue, the doctor forced him to sign a stamped paper stating that he had entered the hospital in violation of rules which he would not do so again, and that doctors of the hospital had produced relevant documents before him with which Shishir was satisfied.
The journalist said he had in his possession photos of nameplates bearing the various designations Azam uses. At a private chamber in Chittagong, his designation on a nameplate states: “Assistant Professor of Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH) & also Professor of Sikder Medical College Hospital, Dhaka”, he said.
According to Abu Tayeb, former civil surgeon of Chittagong, Shafiul Azam was an assistant professor (acting) of CMCH. He was transferred to Patia Upazila Health Complex in 2010 but he did not join work there.
Later, the Directorate General of Health Services carried out an investigation on the matter but he was not aware of the findings, Tayeb told The Daily Star.
A source, who knows Azam personally, said Azam went to India for studies instead of joining Patia Health Complex. After his return, he joined Sikder Medical College Hospital as head of its cardiology department about three months ago.
A doctor at Sikder Medical College told The Daily Star he heard rumours of such a thing but did not know any details.
The Daily Star called Shafiul Azam for his comments over the phone, but the doctor declined to talk stating he was busy.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists President Manjurul Ahsan Bulbul condemned the incident and terming it a criminal act.
“Shishir Morol went to the hospital after making an appointment. Confining and beating him on arrival shows the whole thing was planned,” he told The Daily Star.
He said it was a dangerous precedent of a journalist being beaten up on the job. Bulbul expressed hope that the hospital authorities would take prompt action against the doctor concerned.
“BFUJ will sit with the health ministry on the matter,” he added.
Jamaluddin Chowdhury, joint secretary of Shwadhinata Chikitshak Parishad, termed the incident a professional misconduct of the doctor.
“A government doctor cannot work in a different organisation as a fulltime doctor. If these allegations are true, the government should take action against him,” said Jamaluddin, who is also a disciplinary committee member of Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council (BM&DC).
He said BM&DC would probe allegations against the doctor, especially on how he had become a fully-fledged professor from an assistant professor.