Tamil Nadu police book BJP member for harassing hijab-wearing doctor

A video of the incident, in which Ram questions the doctor's qualifications, went viral. The altercation occurred on the night of 24 May in Nagapattinam.

BySouth First Desk

Published May 26, 2023 | 9:20 PMUpdatedMay 26, 2023 | 9:22 PM

Tamil Nadu police book BJP member for harassing hijab-wearing doctor

A member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was charged on Friday, 26 May, with engaging in an argument with a female doctor wearing a hijab at a primary health centre in the Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu.

The police have filed three cases against Bhuvaneswar Ram, a BJP member from Thirupoondi, for confronting the doctor about her choice of attire during duty hours.

A video of the incident, in which Ram questions the doctor’s qualifications, went viral.

The altercation occurred on the night of May 24 at the Thirupoondi primary health centre in the southern district.

In the video, Ram can be heard saying, “I doubt if you are really a doctor. Why are you not in uniform? Why are you wearing a hijab?”

The doctor can be seen responding and recording a video herself, stating, “People are speaking disrespectfully at night when there are female staff members. It is wrong for him to film a video of a female doctor without permission.”

The nursing staff at the health centre also recorded a video of Ram arguing with the doctor and came to her aid.

Also read: Police arrest 7 for threatening woman to remove hijab in Vellore

What the police said

According to the police, the BJP worker accompanied a person named Subramanian, who complained of discomfort, to the health centre for treatment.

However, upon seeing the doctor on night duty wearing a hijab, he started quarrelling with her.

After the video surfaced on social media, supporters of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Communist parties, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), and others demanded Ram’s arrest.

A senior police official stated that three cases have been filed against him under Sections 294b (sings, recites, or utters any obscene song, ballad, or words, in or near any public place), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from the discharge of their duty), and 298 (uttering words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), along with relevant sections of the Information Technology Act.

Also read: How 2023 Karnataka 2nd PUC topper overcame hijab row