Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was shocking to learn from the reports that a manager in Northdale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg was forced to remove the statue of Hindu deity Muruga and other religious objects from her personal locker and was accused of witchcraft because of devotion to her faith.
Moreover, reports suggested that the religious items were poked by someone involved in the incident, which was highly disrespectful; Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted.
Such deprecation of Hinduism was disturbing to the Hindus world over and hurt the devotees, Rajan Zed indicated.
Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken frivolously. Devotees of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be penalized for practicing their religion, Zed stated.
Rajan Zed urged KwaZulu-Natal Premier Thembinkosi Willies Mchunu to immediately launch a high-level enquiry in this issue of religious intolerance and take disciplinary action against the Northdale Hospital CEO and others involved. Moreover KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Health Dr. Sibongiseni Maxwell Dhlomo should issue a formal apology and order revision of the hospital management manuals and retraining of management and employees of the hospitals of the province so that such incidents did not happen in the future, Zed added.
Zed further said that the victim of this reported religious intolerance incident should be adequately compensated for her ordeal, traumatization and public humiliation.
Northdale, in Pietermaritzburg, is a district hospital in uMgungundlovu health district, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2014. Its “Core Values” include: Communication which is open, non-judgmental and transparent.