In a shocking incident, female trainee clerks of the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) were made to stand naked together for a medical test at a civic body-run hospital in Gujarat. When the incident came to light, Surat Municipal Commissioner Banchhanidhi Pani ordered a probe into the allegations. In its complaint, the SMC Employees Union alleged even unmarried women were checked for pregnancy by female doctors in the gynaecology ward of the hospital. The incident took place in the Surat Municipal Institute of Medical Education and Research (SMIMER) hospital, run by the SMC, on February 20.
The committee formed by the commissioner comprises of former dean of the medical college Dr. Kalpana Desai, Assistant Municipal Commissioner Gayatri Jariwala and executive engineer Trupti Kalathia. It will submit a report in 15 days.
According to rules, all trainee employees need to undergo a physical test to prove their physical fitness for the job upon the completion of their training period. Upon completion of their three years of training period, some female trainee clerks came to SMMER hospital for medical test, which is mandatory, officials said.
The union said though they are not against the mandatory test, the method adopted for women staffers in the gynecology ward was not improper.
"Instead of calling the women one after another in the room for the test, lady doctors made them stand naked in group of 10. This act of compelling them to stand naked with others is highly deplorable.
"This method is illegal and against humanity. It is necessary that each woman is checked separately," said the union in its complaint.
According to the general secretary of the union, Ahmed Shaikh, women staffers were put in an embarrassing situation by lady doctors with their absurd questions about pregnancy during the test.
"Doctors should stop asking private questions about pregnancy. Moreover, even unmarried women in that group were subjected to a physical test meant for checking if they were pregnant or not.
"They were put in an embarrassing situation in front of other women. Women's respect must be maintained during medial tests," said Shaikh.
Surat Mayor Jagdish Patel assured stern action against the culprits.
"This issue is very serious. Such physical tests are conducted on all those employees who are getting permanent after finishing their training period.
"We will take strict action against the culprits if the allegations levelled by the women staffers are found to be true," said Patel.
The shocking incident comes days after students of a girls' college in Gujarat's Bhuj town were allegedly forced by hostel authorities to remove their undergarments to prove they were not menstruating.
(With PTI inputs)