Facing backlash, Delhi govt hospital withdraws order asking nurses to not speak in Malayalam


Last updated on June 6, 2021 at 11.40 am

A circular barring nursing staff at Delhi government-run Govind Ballabh Pant Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (GIPMER) not to converse in Malayalam but only use Hindi and English has been withdrawn, the hospital said on Sunday.

'Face action if you use Malayalam at work': Delhi govt hospital to nursing staff

The June 5 dated circular issued by the Nursing Superintendent of GIPMER had stated that “A complaint has been received regarding Malayalam language being used for communication in working places in GIPMER. Whereas maximum patient and colleagues do not know this language and feel helpless causing a lot of inconvenience. So it is directed to all Nursing Personnel to use only Hindi and English for communication otherwise serious action will be taken.”

The institute’s Medical Director Dr Anil Agarwal on Sunday said the order had been withdrawn.

“This circular was issued without information. It has been withdrawn with immediate effect,” said the GIPMER administration.

The Delhi action committee of Malayali nurses has condemned the circular.

“We have seen on social media that circular is withdrawn but we did not receive anything in writing. We also asked apology from the concerned person,” said Fameer CK, Representative of Delhi action committee Malayali nurses.

The circular drew sharp criticism from Congress leaders.

Congress MP from Wayanad, Kerala took to Twitter to post about stopping language discrimination. “Malayalam is as Indian as any other Indian language. Stop language discrimination!” he wrote.

Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor also tweeted, stating, “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!”

Congress MP KC Venugopal wrote to Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan and GIPMER seeking his intervention in the matter and to take immediate disciplinary action against those who issued such a “highly discriminatory circular and denying the basic fundamental rights gauranteed by our constitution.”

“...It is unbelievable that such an order has been issued by an institution denying basic fundamental rights to the frontline health workers working there,” wrote Venugopal.