AP govt, docs hold talks, stalemate persists

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Hyderabad, Dec 6: Even as the Andhra Pradesh government claimed to have accepted all the demands put forth by the striking doctors, there was no assurance from the medicos on calling off the stir after the completion of talks between the two sides on Wednesday. Addressing the press here, State Health Minister G Aruna said the government has accepted all the demands of the junior doctors during the talks in which Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, City Police Commissioner Balwinder Singh and representatives of Indian Medical Association, AP Government Doctors Association and Private Nursing Home Associaton participated.

She said the Chief Minister had informed the doctors that a six- member committee would be constituted to look into the demand for promulgation of an ordinance to book cases against those who attacked doctors, nurses and destroy property in government hospitals.

The government would take a decision after the committee submitted its report in three months.

Stating the government had also agreed to withdraw cases booked against the doctors in the 2004 Gandhi Hospital attack incident, she said outposts would be established at all government teaching hospitals with six-member police teams as demanded by the doctors.

The Chief Minister gave assurance to the private hospitals that police force would be deployed as required. But the hospitals should bear the expenditure.

Stating that Dr Reddy had called upon the doctors to call off the strike, Ms Aruna said the Police Commissioner assured investigation into the attack on doctors by MLA Afsar Khan, would be speeded up. If necessary, more sections would added in the case against the MLA.

Meanwhile, Junior Doctors Association Representative Raju said the Chief Minister had not accepted their demand for arresting the MLA after booking murder case against him as they had demanded.

Dr Reddy had also not given any assurance to take disciplinary action against the MLA, Dr Raju claimed.

He claimed the government was not ready to bring an ordinance to protect the doctors from the attacks immediately.

Dr Raju said the future course of action would be decided at the meeting to be held tomorrow where a decision on whether to call off the stir would be taken.

AP Doctors Association President Prasad said demonstrations being organised by senior doctors from this morning at all teaching and government hospitals would stop from tomorrow as they were satisfied with the government's response to their demands. Indian Medical Association (IMA) president Appa Rao said the government had accepted the doctors demands and they would not launch any agitation.

Doctors at the Niloufer Childrens Hospital struck work to protest the manhandling of some of their colleagues by local MLA Afsar Khan of the Majlis-e-Itahadul- Musalmeen (MIM) on Monday


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