Dr Payal Tadvi’s Facebook cover photo is a portrait of hope—five girls facing the ocean, hands stretched skywards. Her last event update on the site is that of joining the gynaecology department at the Topiwala National Medical College in Mumbai last year. She was found hanging from the ceiling fan in her hostel room on May 22 after allegedly facing caste harassment from her seniors. Dr Tadvi was from the Tadvi Muslim Bhil scheduled tribe community.
Hema Ahuja, Bhakti Mehare and Ankita Khandelwal, all of Dr Tadvi’s seniors who allegedly harassed her for months, have been charged with abetment to suicide. The case has been handed over to Mumbai Police’s Crime Branch. Many are calling this an instance of institutional murder and there has been outrage on social media. Reports say that the hospital authorities were informed about Dr Tadvi’s harassment but they didn’t act on it. Salman Tadvi, Payal’s husband, had filed a verbal complaint with her department head on May 13, nine days before her death. Dr Tadvi’s family was quoted as saying that her harassment got worse after the aforementioned seniors came to know of this complaint.