Shishu Hospital authorities accused of neglecting plagiarism allegations
Physicians of different hospitals staged a protest at Dhaka Shishu (Children) Hospital on Thursday against the forced retirement of Assistant Professor Dr Sabbir Karim.
They alleged that the hospital authorities had taken the decision out of vengeance since Karim had raised allegations of plagiarism against a fellow doctor, Dr Ayub Ali, and demanded that Dr Sabbir Karim be given the job back with proper dignity.
Dr Sabbir Karim, assistant professor in the Child Surgery Department, was given the letter of forced retirement on July 11, with effect from July 13.
Dr Sabbir Karim said he had filed a writ petition with the High Court challenging the promotion of Dr Ayub on June 26. Earlier, he criticized the promotion in a Facebook post on January 29 as the management board did not investigate the allegations of plagiarism Dr Karim had raised since December 7.
The hospital’s management board took the decision on penalising Dr Sabbir Karim on June 26, for posting a status on Facebook protesting against the promotion of Dr Ayub by violating the hospital’s rules, and for his arrogant behavior with the board members, according to hospital Director Dr Shafi Ahmed.
He said that Dr Karim might get his job back, but he had to appeal against the decision.
After Dr Sabbir Karim took up the matter on social media, the board issued a show-cause notice to him on February 16 and again in the middle of June.
Dr Touhid, an assistant registrar of the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases who joined the protest on Thursday, said: "Sabbir didn't apologize for what he wrote on Facebook, and then the board took the decision to punish him."
He questioned how a senior surgeon could be forced to retire over a Facebook post.
Dr Kajal Kumar Karmakar, assistant professor of cardiology at the National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation (NITOR) said: "We have requested the hospital director to take necessary steps about the withdrawal of the order.”
The crisis began in November last year when the authorities issued an internal circular regarding the position of associate professor. Dr Sabbir Karim and Dr Ayub both applied for the position.
One of the conditions for the promotion was that the applicant must submit five research papers.
Dr Sabbir Karim had four papers while Dr Ayub mentioned that he had eight to nine papers. Then Dr Sabbir Karim went on an academic search of Dr Ayub's papers and found that at least three of those papers had been plagiarised from a Nepali research paper and papers by Bangladeshi doctors.
He informed the management board of the matter, and mailed it to Dr Shahidullah, the chairman of the board.
He alleged that Dr Ayub had managed to secure double promotion in 2017 due to his influence on the hospital board.
Dr Sabbir Kariim said he went to the director’s room one day to enquire about the progress of investigation in the plagiarism allegations.
He alleged that a deputy director of the hospital, Probir Kumar Sarker, had criticized him for talking about plagiarism repeatedly when the main writers were not concerned about it at all.
“Maybe I was rude to ask questions in that way. But the authorities have claimed that I resorted to vandalism and insulted them. These are baseless allegations against me,” he told Dhaka Tribune.