Christian man beaten to death by doctors in Lahore for defending his pregnant sister
by Kamran Chaudhry

The police registered a case against 14 doctors, 20 security guards and 10 nurses. Suneel Saleem was killed because he asked that his sister be seen by doctors at the Services Hospital. The latter filed a counter complaint against Christians. This “is a shame,” says priest.

Lahore (AsiaNews) – A Christian man who suffered critical injuries after he was beaten by doctors and security guards died at Lahore’s Services Hospital where the incident took place.

Despite his serious injuries, Suneel Saleem was left unattended for hours before being moved to intensive care. He had rushed to the hospital after his two sisters, Mehwish and Kiran were beaten and segregated by male nurses for asking that a gynecologist visit the heavily pregnant Kiran. The one available at the time, Dr Saira, was however on a break, drinking tea.

Mehwish Saleem spoke to AsiaNews, describing the tragic curse of events. On Monday, she and her sister Kiran came to the hospital.  "They admitted my elder sister, who is nine-month pregnant, but the doctor would not visit her,” Mehwish said, because he was “sipping tea.”

When they approached the doctor, the latter shouted at them, ‘Get the hell out of here’. When the sisters insisted, the woman doctor “threatened to keep my sister in for three weeks without permission to eat or meet our family.”

"During the exchange, she hit Kiran’s belly with a [medical] file. I caught her as she stumbled. Then she saw the cross on my neck.” Mehwish reports that she and her sister were slapped, abused and locked in a room. Their admittance cards and Kiran’s private medical file were taken.

When Suneel heard about what had happened to his sisters, he rushed to the hospital with relatives.

"The doctors then called the hospital’s security agents who locked us up in separate rooms, then they beat my relatives up in another room. My brother was hit with a glass slab. Even after he fainted, they slapped him. When he stopped breathing, the guards and the doctors thought he was faking it.”

Suneel was eventually attached to a respirator in the intensive care unit at around 10.30 m. Five hours later his lifeless body was handed over to relatives.

The police received a complaint for murder against 14 doctors, 20 security guards and 10 nurses. The statement notes that the incident began with the dispute involving Dr Saira.

Reacting to the incident, at least 300 Christians staged a protest yesterday in front of the Lahore Press Club led by the Rising Christian Union, which called for "action against the doctors and staff".

Meanwhile, Dr Amiruddin, the medical superintendent at Services Hospital, filed a complaint against the victim's family, accusing them of seriously injuring a security agent.

The incident “is a disgrace,” said Fr Abid Habib, former president of Major Superiors Leadership Conference of Pakistan. “Who would expect such a thing from doctors.”

For the clergyman, “It is a shameful that they are [now] claiming that the young doctors are innocent. It is shameful that patients and their family members are mistreated instead of receiving assistance”. People even have “to pay bribes to get a staff member to see a patient.”  

More will follow.  “A committee was set up to probe the matter. They are expected to give a report. As usual they will try their best to quash the case and justice will not be done. They have ruined Easter celebrations for the whole community.”