On Friday, May 19, 2023, Syed Tahir Hussain, an assistant professor in the department of anesthesiology at Madurai Medical College (MMC) in Tamil Nadu, was suspended due to allegations of sexual harassment. A complaint was filed on May 6, 2023, by 23 women associated with the college, which included professors, nurses, and post-graduate students, accusing Tahir Hussain of sexual harassment. Following an internal inquiry conducted by the college, these allegations were found to be true. Additionally, Hussain is also accused of misconduct towards patients in the operation theatre.
The charges against Syed Tahir Hussain were investigated by the Vishakha Committee under the Directorate of Medical Education (DME). After a thorough investigation, the committee confirmed the validity of the victim’s allegations. Dr Dhanalakshmi, the dean and chief of the Vishakha Committee, announced the suspension of Professor Syed Tahir Hussain during a press conference.
The press conference also shed light on Tahir Hussain’s actions, revealing the nature of his misconduct. The complainants consisted of 18 students enrolled in the operation theatre course, two postgraduates, one nurse, and two professors from the department of anaesthesiology. Each of them identified themselves as victims of Tahir Hussain’s sexual harassment.
Dr Dhanalakshmi, the head of the Vishakha Committee probing the allegations against Syed Tahir Hussain, disclosed that Tahir’s colleagues were hesitant to accompany him during surgeries due to fear. It was revealed that he would address the students with offensive obscene nicknames.
Furthermore, the students who accused Syed Tahir Hussain alleged that he would touch them inappropriately. Additionally, Tahir would force the students to remove their masks in the operation theatre, arguing that it was necessary to have a clear view of their faces.
The victims from the medical college further accused Syed Tahir Hussain of making comments about the girls’ complexion. He would describe the ‘fair’ girls as being born from virtuous parents. The victims also alleged that Syed Tahir Hussain would pull their hair, commenting on its beauty.
Additionally, Tahir Hussain would make inappropriate remarks about the girls’ eyebrows. Furthermore, it is alleged that he hugged a girl who was grieving over the death of a relative in an inappropriate manner, under the pretense of consoling her.
Syed Tahir Hussain is also accused of molesting his female patients. Media reports suggest that the number of victims who have come forward with allegations of sexual abuse by Tahir ranges from 23 to 41. Additionally, it is alleged that even after the complaint was filed on May 6, 2023, he continued his inappropriate behaviour towards girls, and continued to molest them. He is accused of sexually harassing female students both within and outside the operation theatre.
In 2017, a sexual harassment accusation was made against Professor Tahir Hussain within the college, but no action was taken at that time. However, he has denied the current allegations made against him. Tahir claims that he is being targeted with false complaints as a result of his efforts to expose irregularities in the promotions, transfers, and postings of government doctors in the state. He stated that he is prepared to face any investigation.