Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has been receiving criticism for insulting medical professionals. In an interview with ABP’s Marathi channel on 15th August, Raut said that doctors do not know anything. He added that compounders are better and he always takes medicines from the compounders (assistants), not the doctors. “WHO is a useless organization. Because of WHO, the Covid-19 pandemic happened,” he claimed.
IMA seeks Raut’s resignation
In a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Indian Medical Association condemned Raut’s statement and asked for his resignation. They said, “the healthcare workers are working at great risk not only to themselves personally but also risking their dependents… spouses, children and aged senior citizen patients.” IMA said that at this critical time, they expect government and politicians to stand with them. They condemned the statement made by Raut that doctors know nothing and compounders know more. “We condemn this behaviour and ask for his resignation,” they added.
Doctors stage protest
The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) wrote to CM Thackeray and demanded an apology from Raut. They said, “Raut’s statement is embarrassing to young doctors.” The association asked CM if he believes in what Raut said. If he does not Sanjay Raut should apologize. “Otherwise, the doctors will take to the streets assuming that the role they have played is their official role,” they added.
Dr Avinash Bhondwe, IMA-M President, said in a statement that over 300,000 doctors are working in the state to fight the pandemic. He said that around 50 doctors have already lost their lives to Covid-19 in the state. “Such disparaging, disrespectful, and dishonoring comments by a respectable leader, a journalist, and a Rajya Sabha member has hurt the feelings of doctors in Maharashtra. These lighting and uncomplimentary remark have damaged the morale of the doctors who are fighting Covid-19 for more than four-and-a-half months now,” he added.
“My comment was about WHO,” claims Raut
Sanjay Raut refused to apologize and denied the allegations that he had hurt the medical professionals in any way. He said that there is a difference between an “insult” and a “joke”. He said, “They [doctors] are seeking an apology, but they should first understand that I have not insulted them and had no intention to do so. Whatever I said was in reply to a question on WHO. There is a difference between an insult and a joke. I have always had respect for doctors and the medical community. The politics over the statement should stop.”
Raut draws flak
Former CM of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis said that while he does not know in what context Raut made the statement, he feels that giving such statement is not proper amidst the COVID scenario. “Our doctors are working really hard. They are putting their lives into danger and working day and night for us. This statement has hurt their feelings,” he added.
Asian Age quoted Maharashtra BJP chief media coordinator Vishwas Pathak saying, “Visualisation goes with the capacity and competence of every human being. First Sanjay Raut said that Uddhav Thackeray is fit to be the WHO advisor.” He added that he ridiculed the WHO team to the level of a compounder to match his boss’s capabilities.