Jr doctors continue strike in AP, demand SPF protection

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Hyderabad, Dec 19: Junior doctors in Andhra Pradesh were continuing their strike for the fifth day today, even as the state government warned of invoking the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) against them if they did not report for duty immediately.

Talking to newspersons here, Junior Doctors representative Rajasekhar said the medicos were demanding that the government should give a written agreement that Special Protection Force (SPF) would be deployed at all government teaching hospitals in a phased manner. Stating that the government should provide a conducive atmosphere at all teaching hosptials for the doctors to perform duties, he said 'we will call off the strike only after receiving a written agreement from the govenrment on deploying SPF.' Mr Rajasekhar alleged that the government had not taken steps to post SPF personnel in the hospitals despite a directive from the State Human Rights Commission on a petition filed by the doctors.

Demanding that the police also arrest the woman, who allegedly attacked a junior doctor at Nayapool Maternity hosptial on December 14, which triggered flash strike by the medicos, he said 'the junior doctors will not attend duties until their demands are accepted by the government.

Health Minister G Aruna told reporters that the government would not give any written undertaking to the demand of the junior doctors to deploy SPF at all government hospitals.

He pointed out that the government had conceded the main demand of the medicos by approving the ordinance for protection of doctors at government and private hospitals.

UNI

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