A group of doctors and staffers of National Institute of Mental Health and Hospital (NIMH) staged a demonstration and observed work abstention for hours on Wednesday protesting the arrest of the hospital registrar, Dr Abdullah Al Mamun over the death of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Anisul Karim.
They also besieged the office of the NIMH Director, Prof Bidhan Ranjan Roy Podder to press home their demands. However, they subsequently suspended their protest and allowed the hospital director to leave.
The demands of the doctors/staffers were as follows: justification of Dr Abdullah's arrest; withdrawal of cases against him and his reinstatement; and assurances from the Health Ministry and Directorate General of Health Services on being able to work without intimidation.
According to NIMH Director, Bidhan Ranjan Roy Podder, services at the hospital were resumed in the interest of the patients, and the doctors/staffers suspended their agitation following assurances from the Bangladesh Medical Association.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Association of Psychiatrists has decided to remain absent from private chambers and online medical services from Wednesday to Thursday evening.
Dr Helal Uddin, a physician of the hospital and Association member, said services at public hospitals will not be affected, but private chambers and online services will remain closed for two days in protest of Dr Abdullah's arrest.
Police arrested him from the Shyamoli area in the capital on Tuesday. He is currently in a two-day remand in police custody.
Police said when ASP Anisul went to the NIMH, seeking treatment for his mental illness, Dr Abdullah sent him to Mind Aid Hospital despite being aware of its reputation for torturing patients.
Investigators said Dr Abdullah financially benefited from these patient referrals to Mind Aid Hospital in the capital's Adabar area.
The NIMH director claimed that their own internal investigation had found no evidence of Dr Abdullah's role in sending ASP Anisul to Mind Aid Hospital.
ASP Anisul was brought to Mind Aid for treatment on 9 November, where he was allegedly tortured to death that same day.
The next day, ASP Anisul's father filed a case with Adabar police station against 15 people in connection with the death of his son.
13 people have been arrested in connection with ASP Anisul's death thus far.
CCTV footage showed that one of the accused in the case forcefully took the victim to the observation room of the private facility and hit him repeatedly.
But hospital staff told Anisul's family that he had fainted.
Anisul's relatives took him to the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, where he was declared dead.