One of the more fundamental and easily grasped obligations of the ethical obligations of a doctor is not to incite people to mass murder. However, an Indian gynaecologist who ran a maternity home in Gujarat has been jailed for 28 years over the slaughter of 96 Muslims in 2002.
One of the most easily grasped ethical obligations of a doctor is not to incite people to mass murder. An Indian gynaecologist who ran a maternity home in Gujarat has joined a select group of medicos who have had a lapsus memoriae in this respect. She has been jailed for 28 years over the slaughter of 96 Muslims in 2002.
Dr Maya Surendrabhai Kodnani, a Hindu fundamentalist, was an MP for the Bhartiya Janata Party in the state parliament. She urged Hindus to massacre and rape Muslims in retaliation for the deaths of 56 Hindu pilgrims who had been burned alive on the previous day.
“I have seen dead bodies of Kar Sevaks at Godhra,” she told a mob. “You Ram Bhakta – devotees of Ram — should kill Muslims here, cut them, as the Babri Masjid had been demolished, the Masjid here also should be destroyed, I am with you; you will have no difficulty.”
Until she was arrested in 2009, Dr Kodnani was Minister of Women and Child Development in the Gujarat government. Married to a doctor, she had a thriving practice at an Ahmedabad maternity hospital she founded. Her defence was that she was not on the scene on the day of the massacre, but cell phone records and witness accounts showed that she was directing her thugs all day long.
In an article in the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, Dr Bindu T. Desai says that Dr Kodnani’s case is an appalling violation of medical ethics:
“The utter disregard for human life, the aiding and abetting of murder and other horrific acts, the distribution of arms to an incensed mob; these are not acts one associates with an obstetrician whose training and practice involve one of the most joyous events in human life – the birth of a child.
“Physicians participating in this manner are rare, public display exhorting such acts even rarer. I am not aware of a single such action on the part of a physician of publicly exhorting people to kill the members of a community, distributing arms etc. Yet, even she appears to have realised that her presence on the scene was problematic, at least legally. Hence her passionate denials about being there and the enormous efforts made on her behalf to cover up her presence at Naroda Patiya on that awful day in February 2002.”
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