Bhubaneswar/Koraput: Another tribal group in Odisha has demanded action against the woman social worker who allegedly forced sick Padma Sri awardee and tribal icon Kamala Pujari to dance while being discharged from a hospital in Cuttack.
Following the public outcry over the issue, authorities of the SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack have constituted a committee headed by the head of the medicine department Prof Jayant Panda to probe into the incident where Pujari was ‘forced’ to dance despite her illness.
The committee comprised the registrar of the SCBMCH, Abinash Rout will submit its report to the hospital superintendent.
“We have already recorded statement of doctors, nurses on duty, attendants, hospital security and others. Two more people will be interrogated and we will submit report on Saturday”, Panda told PTI.
He said the woman social worker was accompanying Pujari from Jeypore and was known as a lady attendant of the Padma Sri awardee. “The hospital staff allowed her (the social worker) entry because she had come along with Pujari during the admission time,” Panda said.
Meanwhile, a day after Paraja tribal community demanded strong action against the woman social worker who forced Pujari (72) to dance, now the Bhumia tribe also condemned the incident where the tribal icon was forced to dance in the ICU of the hospital.
The Bhumia tribal society leader Narendra Kandolia said that the entire tribal population of Odisha, who comprise 22.5 per cent of the Odisha’s population, condemn it. They have submitted a memorandum to the government through sub-collector, Jeypore on Friday.
“Padma Sri Kamala Pujari is pride of tribals and icon for all of us. The way she was forced to dance inside the ICU is unfortunate and we strongly condemn it. We demand before the state government to inquire into the whole incident at the highest level and to take appropriate action at the earliest,” Kandolia, a Bhumia leader told PTI.
The incident came to light after a video, in which the elderly woman was seen dancing in the ICU of a government hospital, went viral.
The social worker, Mamata Behera, was also seen dancing with her. “I never wanted to dance but was forced to do it. I repeatedly denied, but she (Behera) did not listen. I was sick and got tired,” Pujari told television channels in Koraput district from where she hails.
Pujari’s attendant Rajeeb Hial said she does not know Behera, who had also clicked several selfies with the Padma Sri awardee.
Pujari, who was admitted at the district headquarters hospital (DHH) at Jeypore in the district for fever and loose motion was shifted to the SCB medical college and hospital at Cuttack on August 24 after her condition deteriorated. She was discharged from SCB medical college and hospital on Monday after recovering from the illness and had reached home on Tuesday.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had wished her speedy recovery and a special doctors team was formed for the proper treatment of Pujari.
Pujari, was awarded the Padma Sri in 2019 for promoting organic farming and preserving over 100 varieties of indigenous seeds of different crops including paddy.
The hospital authorities said Pujari was admitted to a special cabin and not in the ICU.
Behera, on her part, claimed she had no bad intention behind the act, and just wanted to “shun Pujari’s laziness”.
Pujari belongs to the Paraja community, a major Scheduled Tribe of Odisha, which comprise around 4 per cent of the state’s tribal population.