Accused claims the intern was the first to land a blow
Intern ASM Ali Imam Shitol is still willing to return to work at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH). But he is afraid of being attacked by his colleagues again.
Shitol was allegedly tortured on January 14 by leaders of DMCH Intern Doctors Association (IDA) and Bangladesh Chhatra League inside th Shaheed Dr Fazle Rabbi Hall.
A former DMCH Chhatra League leader himself, Shitol filed a case at Chawkbazar police station on January 17 against eight intern doctors.
One of the accused told Dhaka Tribune that Shitol had confronted them about not getting his desired internship placement rotation and had hit them first when they got into a brawl.
However, according to the case statement, Shitol said he was attacked by IDA General Secretary Shahriar Khan and seven others with rods and bamboo sticks in the Fazle Rabbi Hall common room, which is colloquially known as “Gono Room.”
Shitol vomited after being kicked on the head. Some other intern doctors intervened when they heard him crying out for help. Both his legs were bleeding.
Later, he was taken to the emergency department of the hospital for treatment.
‘I just want to complete my internship’
Shitol has left Dhaka and moved back to his hometown as he believes his assaulters will attack him again in an act of vengeance if he returns to work.
“I am not really looking forward to getting justice. All I want is to complete my internship in DMCH as I was a student there,” he told Dhaka Tribune.
Shitol said he had a word with the DMCH director, who assured him that he would be able to get back to work.
“I do not think justice will be served. I filed the case because I was worried about my safety after that incident, but I don’t think the investigation committee or the police will find enough evidence to serve justice,” he said.
He added that there were some witnesses to the incident, but he thinks nobody will speak up against the IDA leaders.
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, DMCH IDA General Secretary Shahriar alleged that Shitol was trying to paint a picture of the incident so that it would look like he did not attack them first.
“He hit me first. I hit him in defence. He became aggressive when he was confronting me about not getting to intern with the medicine department,” Shahriar claimed.
“The whole incident has been blown out of proportion,” he claimed.
He added that the interns association does not get to decide who will be assigned to which department.
Shahriar claimed that he too had injuries on his hand and leg from that brawl.
What authorities say
Fazle Rabbi Hall Provost Dr Hasanur Rahman Khan told Dhaka Tribune that their investigation team has talked to most of the people involved in the incident and would come to a decision soon.
“The DMCH director will make a decision based on the committee’s findings,” he said.
Talking about the incident, Hasanur recalled that Shitol called him over the phone on January 14, and told him that he had been assaulted by some other intern doctors.
“Shitol told me he was tortured inside the hall and undergoing treatment. We then formed the investigation committee to look into the incident.
“However, we could not record Shitol’s statement as he has been unavailable,” said Hasanur.
He said that they were also unable to collect the CCTV camera footage of the incident as the camera, which covers the spot where Shitol was allegedly attacked, were broken.
Shitol told this correspondent that he assumed Shahriar and his men broke the camera after the incident to destroy evidence.
He added that he could not show up to give his statement to the probe team as he moved back to his hometown for safety reasons.
Prof Nurul Sattar Rumi, the head of the probe committee, declined to comment on the matter as they were still investigating and the matter was confidential.
Dhaka Tribune tried to reach DMCH Director Colonel Nazmul Haque over the phone, but he did not receive the calls.
When contacted, Chawkbazar police Sub-Inspector Mohammad Omar Faruq, who is investigating the case, also declined to share details as they were still probing.