Indian Radiologists Strike, Seek Help From Human Right Group for Arrested Colleague

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Indian radiologists are rallying around Dr. Gopal Battalwar, a radiologist from Nanded, after he was arrested for his alleged role in an illegal abortion.

In India, where a cultural preference for male children persists, radiologists are prohibited from telling parents the sex of a child based on a prenatal ultrasound. The goal is to prevent the aborting of female fetuses, but in practice, it can leave Indian radiologists at the mercy of the law if the information is leaked from their clinics, even without their knowledge. Under the law, a radiologist may be arrested, held without bail and if convicted, punished just as severely as the actual abortionist for sharing gender information with the parents.

According to the Mumbai Mirror, the Indian Radiology and Imaging Association (IRIA) has filed a complaint with the state’s human rights commission after Dr. Battalwar was arrested and denied bail. According to the IRIA, the only evidence against Dr. Battlwar is a statement by the alleged abortionist, Arifabee Begum, that he gave her information on the gender of the child and a radiology report bearing the patient’s name that was found at Begum’s illegal clinic.

In addition to the complaint filed by the IRIA, last Wednesday Indian radiologists staged a nationwide strike in protest over the arrest.