A Delhi hospital, the government-run Govind Ballabh Pant Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (GIPMER), has withdrawn the order it released a day before directing all nursing staff to use only Hindi and English languages for communication within the hospital premises.
However, the hospital administration said that the circular was issued without their information after the controversy erupted over its specific notice that mentioned “serious actions” to be taken against anyone found speaking in other languages.
The GIPMER’s action came after the Delhi Health Department issued a memo to it earlier in connection with its recent notice directing nursing staff to communicate only in Hindi or English.
Complaint against use of Malayalam
The circular was issued on Saturday by the nursing superintendent of the hospital who had said that GIPMER had received a complaint against the use of the Malayalam language.
“A complaint has been received regarding the Malayalam language is being used for communication in working places in GIPMER. Whereas maximum patients and colleagues do not know this language and feel helpless causing a lot of inconveniences,” the circular read.
“So, it is directed to all nursing personnel to use only Hindi and English for communication otherwise serious action will be taken,” it added.
Cong demands withdrawal of order
Soon after the Delhi hospital issued the circular, Rajya Sabha MP and Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal requested Union Health Minister through a letter for immediate withdrawal of the order.
“I urge Hon’ble health Minister @drharshvardhan to order an immediate withdrawal of the bizarre & unconstitutional circular issued by the authorities of GIPMER,” Venugopal tweeted.
“Nurses from Kerala are sincerely discharging their duties across the world and taking care of the patients. Naturally, nurses belonging to the same region would speak the language among themselves as it is their mother tongue. It is illogical to assume that they would speak in their mother tongue to a person who can’t speak that language. The circular is, undoubtedly, highly discriminatory and denying the basic fundamental right guaranteed by our constitution,” the Congress leader said in the letter.
Violation of human rights: Tharoor
Congress Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor also criticised the circular issued by the Delhi hospital, saying it is a violation of the basic human rights of Indian citizens.
“It boggles the mind that in democratic India a government institution can tell its nurses not to speak in their mother tongue to others who understand them. This is unacceptable, crude, offensive and a violation of the basic human rights of Indian citizens. A reprimand is overdue!” Tharoor tweeted.
Congress Rajya Sabha MP and the party’s chief whip Jairam Ramesh tweeted that it was an absolutely bizarre order, which was unconstitutional too. While Rahul Gandhi said, “Malayalam is as Indian as any other Indian language. Stop language discrimination!”