Maharashtra – No Images of Gods in Clinics, authorities tell Radiologists


Lakshmi-Ganapathi-Homam1

State government officials cracking down on radiologists conducting sex determination tests have told doctors not to put up pictures of deities in their clinics. The authorities say that doctors often misuse the pictures to reveal the foetus’s gender; in case of a girl child, they point to a goddess and for a boy they point to a god.

“We have learnt about plenty of such incidents due to which we are requesting doctors to not put up gods’ pictures,”said Dr Sudhakar Kokane, nodal officer for implementing the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act. In the past year, many radiologists have been pulled up for displaying pictures of deities. “But we cannot be harsh as it becomes a religious issue,” said Kokane.

Varsha Deshpande, who runs an NGO called Lek Ladki Abhiyan and has conducted sting operations on radiologists across the state, said misuse of the pictures is common. “These cases simply cannot be proven but people on the field know that it is a reality,” said Deshpande. The most common ways are to bow before a Ganesha picture to hint that it’s a boy or say “Ganpati Bappa Morya”. “When it’s a girl, the doctor would say ‘Jai Mata Di’ or bow before a picture of Saraswati or Laxmi.”

Deshpande said there are other code words as well: “Some doctors email a picture of a Barbie doll, some simply write Monday for girl and Friday for boy, the number 16 for one boy, 19 for a girl and 29 for twin girls.” Cracking down on radiologists has been tedious due to protests from them.

“The state officials may have come across such misuse of the pictures but such cases are found mostly in rural parts,” said Dr Jignesh Thakkar, president, Indian Radiology and Imaging Association. “However, it is a matter of religious belief. The state government cannot play around with doctors’ beliefs.”

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