This week, Kerala saw two major tragic events – 1) the accident (if it can even be called that) of a wrongfully operational tourist boat that capsized and killed 22 people and injured 10 more, and 2) the murder of a 23-year-old doctor by an addict on a stabbing rampage, while he was being treated for his injuries, in the presence of police officers. While these two are incidents that sound extremely different from each other, they have two common links:
– They were both avoidable misfortunes caused by nothing but pure neglect and irresponsibility on the part of those who are supposed to keep us safe.
The boat accident was caused by illegal conversion of a fishing boat to a tourist boat, approved wrongly by all authorities and given the green light to continue its extremely overcrowded cruise despite complaints from locals, only because of the political and financial clout of the owner, thus showing how pathetic our system is. Likewise, making a mockery of the system and the entire police force of the state, the poor doctor’s death came at the hands of an unstable addict, who was already a danger to himself and others, brought to the hospital after being involved in a family brawl and was left absolutely free to grab whatever he wanted and go on a stabbing spree. If overcrowded tourist boats and those without license are nothing new in Kerala, attacks on medical professionals by patients and their relatives are nothing new either.
In fact, while the former is an issue which had reached the status of “sensational news” more than a decade before with a government-owned boat’s accident, the latter has been the topic of discussion and protests quite a few times in the recent years, with attacks on doctors and other medical professionals on the increase, at the hands of entitled and shameless idiots who call it “quite a natural thing to happen”. Why, even the Health Minister for the state has expressed her sadness over this “unfortunate incident” by stating that the victim was a young and inexperienced doctor who got scared, and that the security measures in the hospital were absolutely satisfactory. How the doctor’s age or experience, or her fear at seeing a maniac about to stab her are relevant, when even senior doctors in their sixties are being beaten up by “aggrieved relatives”, is not clear, neither is the effectiveness of said “satisfactory security” when a dangerous guy who came with police officers could kill a doctor and injure many others with absolutely no difficulty.
– Following both these incidents, the absolutely shitty section of social media users (whom we will call “shitty jerks” from now on) have once again shown that it is easy to blame people who are in no way guilty of anything in an attempt to shift the blame from where it ideally should be.
Muralee Thummarukudy is a name that is pretty well-known to Malayali social media users. He is an expert in Disaster Management and writes countless posts on Facebook about safety concerns across fields, tips and tricks for ensuring personal safety, and safety and security on a larger scale, with warnings and action plans that couldn’t be any clearer. He bases his observations regarding risks purely on facts and logical reasoning and from an expert like him, the observations and predictions of accidents are spot-on almost always. His Facebook post from April 1 is now going viral for the same reason. In that post, he had mentioned how it doesn’t take superhuman powers for one to observe an ongoing trend and predict its consequences while talking about the dangers of tourist boat sector and attacks on medical professionals in Kerala. He very specifically mentioned how overcrowded boats (he had talked mainly about houseboats since they are very common in Kerala) without any safety features or even a safety briefing to the passengers would one day cause a huge tragedy. In the very same post, he spoke about how the increasing number of attacks on medical professionals would surely result in a death very soon and how safety of medical professionals wouldn’t be taken seriously till then. This week’s events come just a month after his post – a post that can be considered an accurate warning of the horror that would follow.
The post is now obviously viral with people mostly expressing their shock at the accuracy of his predictions, and rightly blaming the authorities for not taking the words of even an expert like him with the seriousness it deserved, and paving way to not one, but two horrific events that could easily be avoided. But the shitty jerks decided that the right way to go about their online mourning show-off would be to use rather colourful adjectives for the “harbinger of doom”. A few posts in particular had only comments abusing Mr.Thummarukudy, even going to the extent of saying “Arrest that @%$#@^& and beat him up. It’s very clear that he had a role to play in the boat tragedy.” I couldn’t believe the level of stupidity for people to say that someone who warns of danger – even the kind that is clear enough for anyone to see – is the one responsible for the tragedy occurring from such danger. And not the ones who should have paid heed to such warnings and taken corrective measures.
When it came to the doctor’s death, the shitty jerks found an even more “culpable” person to attribute the blame to – Dr.Prathibha, whose persistent efforts helped bring out the judgement that in cases of custodial assaults and ones where the accused person’s statement to the doctor should not in any way be influenced by the fear of police officers standing right next to them, the doctor and the accused should be given the privacy they require. A very valid concern led to a very valid judgement – it’s as simple as that. But with the gruesome murder of the doctor yesterday, this judgement and the doctor who made this judgement possible made the headlines yet again – apparently, for the wrong reasons. Suddenly the shitty jerks decided that this judgement and the doctor who brought this about are the root cause of the attacks on doctors and the murder that has happened.
Not knowing the legal implications or meaning of a judgement is not a crime. But not having basic common sense and an absolute lack of filters in typing out whatever you want on a public forum is a crime – and that is the crime that the self-professed “legal experts” committed while blaming Dr.Prathibha for this murder and saying that it was something that doctors asked for! These are the same shitty jerks who comment under every news of a medical professional getting attacked – “All doctors are business-minded and care only for money; they deserve this”, “Relatives would be understandably upset and you can’t blame them for manhandling the ones responsible for their loved one’s death.”
These comments and posts blaming Mr.Thummarukudy and Dr.Prathibha are not as innocently stupid as they may seem. While many of them might be stupid to the core and aren’t worthy of getting into a debate with, the majority of these shitty jerks are part of a bigger evil that we see around – the tendency to protect and defend those who must be held accountable, and shift the blame elsewhere in an attempt to distract public from the real issue. Until these evil spawns exist in our society, there will never be a change. Because with them around, the real culprits know that they are always safe, and can go about their ways without worries, endangering lives and making laws and rules nothing but a joke. With them around, every genuine protest turns into a losing battle. Hopeless as it may sound, that is the sad reality where we live. Someday hopefully, greater good will become the priority, and not cheap political games, and that day we will find justice for all who lose their lives, literally and otherwise, thanks to the evil spawns and their role models.
Also published on Medium.