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A Doctor’s Murder in Odisha

So, the long history of people in India taking the law in their hands and dealing out the so-called justice continues. These incidents are mostly incited by few individuals, many times by local goons, who have personal grudges against someone. They make people feel like victims and manipulate the entire mob by way of speech to implant bloodthirsty hatred in their minds. Most of the times it is found that the so-called ‘guilty’ was not at all guilty. He or she was just unlucky to fall prey to the vent of the angered mob or an individual who decided to meet out punishment without any enquiry or established proof. These cases are common in remote and backward places where the law keepers are not so influential or do not have adequate control means.

The recent cold-blooded murder of Dr Durbadala Mishra, 51, paediatric specialist and additional district medical officer of Subarnapur in Odisha, has created a wave of shock, fear and disbelief throughout the entire nation. On the fateful night of September 21, Dr Mishra’s body was found with his throat slit just ten meters away from his residence. The man arrested Pratyush Panda and his associates have reportedly confessed to the heinous act. The case has emerged as an incidence of ‘revenge killing’ for the death of Panda’s nephew who he believes, died due to “medical negligible” of Dr Mishra around eight months back.

Such incidences of a doctor being roughed up, mauled or killed by a mob is no news to the ear nowadays, owing to its sheer frequency. It discourages those few good doctors who, out of a sense of patriotism and service to people, are willing to let go of the chance to earn fat money in the cities and serve people in the villages instead. Still people don’t seem to care and such untoward incidences have failed to cease. What people do not realize is that it is they who are suffering, when a good doctor refuses to take up a government job in their area and decides instead to practice in private hospital in a big city. The city dweller, however, has innumerable options to choose from.

It is high time now that something serious is structured and formulated to avoid these kinds of incidences. There is a lot of expectation from the Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan who is a man of repute. He has to come up with a plan to provide tight and armed security, round the clock CCTV monitoring etc. However, most importantly, people should be made to understand. They have to wake up from their slumber, get out of the well of influence and act as responsible citizens to stop these incidences.

For this sake, awareness programmes can be organized throughout the nation at grassroots level. Local politicians, village headmen etc should be approached and included in the plans to ensure mass participation in these programmes. The media, social networks etc can also play an active role in spreading the message and reaching out to people. Punishments of such offences should be made stricter to instil fear in the minds of potential offenders. It is the government’s duty, however, to ensure that a sense of faith in the system prevails amongst people and they strongly believe that justice is meted out if someone is neglecting his or her duty.

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