Doctor Who Told Media That Injuries Of ABVP Activists In JNU Were ‘Superficial’ Is Not Employed With AIIMS, Is A Congress Member
Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti’s statements have been quoted by another publication as “official medical response” to injuries of JNU students admitted in AIIMS Trauma Centre in New Delhi.
On 6 January, a website, Newslaundry.com, quoted one “Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti at AIIMS” in a report to say that “medically speaking, the injuries their activists allegedly sustained looked superficial”.
“Their” refers to ABVP as stated in the report.
The report is titled “ABVP says it wasn’t responsible for mob violence at JNU, but no one’s really buying it”.
Bhatti is quoted as one of the three-four people in the report to refute ABVP’s claims.
After the violence in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus on Sunday evening, several injured students were taken to AIIMS Trauma Centre. As per reports, around 23 students and faculty of JNU were admitted to AIIMS.
AIIMS or All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi is an autonomous government medical centre.
The Newslaundry report introduced Bhatti as "former president of the Resident Doctors’ Association at AIIMS who had rushed to the hospital".
The report further quoted Bhatti as saying, “some alleged ABVP fellows with superficial injuries also got themselves admitted into the emergency and were making the other patients and doctors uncomfortable.”
Reading the report, one would conclude that Bhatti is a doctor associated with AIIMS and his statement on students’ injuries is an official word from the AIIMS. That said, his statement on ABVP activists come across as surprising as it’s not considered ethical for doctors on duty to profile the injured in this manner.
It turns out that Bhatti is not employed with AIIMS and is not authorised to speak to the media on behalf of the institute.
A reliable authority at AIIMS Delhi confirmed to this correspondent that Bhatti is currently not employed with the medical institute. He was part of the institute a few years ago in geriatrics department, and was indeed the president of the Resident Doctors’ Association at AIIMS at that time, the authority said. “He is not a treating doctor here,” the person at AIIMS said.
Bhatti, it also turns out, is a member of the Congress party. A post dated 15 February 2019 put out by verified Twitter handle of Youth Congress announces Bhatti joining the party.
The post says, “congratulations Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti has been appointed as a national convener and doctors who have been appointed the State Coordinators of the All India Medical Cell. We are confident you will help the people of our nation to the best of your abilities.”
The post carries a photograph of Bhatti (extreme right).
A look at Bhatti’s social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook suggests he has been mobilising crowds to hit streets against the recently enacted Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The act seeks to fast-track Indian citizenship for persecuted religious minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
“Medical fraternity should unite against this unconstitutional, discriminatory, divisive, anti people, unethical, illegal act,” one of his posts with hashtag ‘#rejectCAA_NRC_NPR’ says.
It’s pertinent to mention that the Newslaundry report does not reveal Bhatti’s political affiliation and activism while quoting him on injuries of ABVP activists that those “looked superficial”.
In a query on Twitter whether he is authorised to speak to the media on behalf of AIIMS, Bhatti replied to this correspondent , “Whatever i said was in individual capacity as a doctor or as a medical expert. No Where it was mentioned that i am giving official statement from AIIMS (sic).”
However, Bhatti has indeed been quoted by a publication as “official medical response” on injuries in JNU violence “at the Trauma Centre”.
On 6 January, journalist Barkha Dutt introduced Bhatti as “first official word” and “first official medical response” on injuries in JNU violence “at the Trauma Centre” for a report done by her venture, Mojo Story.
Ironically, Bhatti has retweeted Barkha’s tweets introducing him in this manner.
The headline of the video report by Mojo Story also introduced Bhatti as “AIIMS doctor”.
‘JNU Mob attack: AIIMS doctor confirms 23 injured & admitted to Trauma Centre, 2 with lacerations,’ the headline says.
When asked by the authority at the AIIMS how is Bhatti being quoted by the media as “official word”, the person said, “at any given point of time, there are around fifty thousand people in the medical centre. Some former students do enter trauma and other wards. We are not responsible for what they tell the media later.”
This correspondent asked the Newslaundry reporter Ayan Sharma on Twitter whether he knew of Bhatti’s political link before quoting him, but has received no reply.
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