In a Facebook post on March 10, J&K Minister for Health and Medical Education, Bali Bhagat, said he had inaugurated a new lift at the hospital. But Dr. Amit Kumar, Department of Anaesthesia, reportedly commented on Bhagat’s Facebook post, pointing out that it was not a new lift. Later, citing the Jammu and Kashmir government’s Service Rules Order (SRO), which prohibits employees from posting anything against the government on social media, the Government Medical College, Jammu, has dismissed a doctor from the post of Registrar.
The order cited “SRO 525, whereupon no government employee shall use their personal social media accounts for any political activity or endorse the posts or tweets or blogs of any political figure and also shall not use their accounts in a manner that could reasonably be construed to imply that the government endorses or sanctions their personal activities in any manner whatsoever. They shall also not post inflammatory, extraneous messages in an online community with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting the normal on-topic discussion.”
Speaking to Press, Dr. Kumar said he had only pointed out that the minister had inaugurated an old lift. “I did not make any comment against the government, its policy or an individual,” he said, adding that his comment was later removed.
However, the college administration, in an order dated March 15, said it had terminated the “engagement of Dr. Amit Kumar, Registrar” as he “used his personal social media account (Facebook) and commented with the intent of provoking readers”. The order said a show cause notice was issued to Dr. Kumar on March 12, asking him to explain his position within two days. Dr. Kumar said the order blocked his chances of applying for a teaching job, as one needs at least three years teaching experience. “The termination order says that I will not be provided teaching experience even for the last six months that I worked as Registrar,” he said.
And now, Doctors are angered over the move and are warning to suspend OPD and emergency services at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) in Jammu if the order to sack the doctor is not revoked within 48 hours. “We have written a letter to the GMCH Principal, requesting her to revoke the termination of services of Dr. Amit Kumar, who even submitted a letter of unconditional apology to her office for his comment on Facebook,” Dr. Sourabh Katoch, president of Resident Doctors Association (RDA), GMC, Jammu, told media here.“We stand united with Dr. Amit Kumar who is a dedicated, honest and hard-working registrar of this institution. We appeal to the GMC administration to revoke his termination order with immediate effect and if the order is not revoked in the next 48 hours, we will be forced to stop OPD services from Wednesday morning,” he said.He said various services in the hospital would be suspended in a phased manner. “Routine surgical procedures in main Operation Theatres (OTs) will be stopped after OPD services. Thereafter, routine college academic activities, including lectures and clinical classes, would be suspended and in the last phase, we will stop all emergency services from March 24,” Dr. Katoch said.In a Facebook post on March 10, Health Minister Bali Bhagat said he had inaugurated a new lift at the hospital. He said he had tendered an unconditional apology to the health minister for hurting his ego but when he refused the association decided to go to protest if the order is not revoked.