Students protest against long duration MBBS course proposal

New Delhi
New Delhi, Feb 12: Medical students today held a protest at Nirman Bhawan here against the proposal for increasing the duration of the MBBS course from the existing 5.5 years to 6.5 years, with the addition of a compulsory one-year rural posting for admission into post-graduate programmes.

The protesting students claimed that police used canes and water cannon to disperse them when they tried to enter the Bhawan to meet Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, leaving several of them injured, following which students have decided to go on a strike from tomorrow.

"Some of the doctors have been grievously hurt during the lathicharge and were rushed to hospital," claimed one of the protesters. We may file an FIR against the police official who ordered the lathicharge, a student leader said. Around 2,000 doctors from AIIMS, University College of Medical Sciences, Lady Hardinge Medical College, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Maulana Azad Medical College took part in the protest.

Students of Vardhman Mahavir Medical College, Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital, Lady Hardinge Medical College and Maulana Azad Medical College have decide to initiate a strike from tomorrow, which is likely to affect the functioning of OPDs of the hospitals.

According to sources, medical students and Resident Doctors Association (RDA) members of AIIMS may also join the strike from tomorrow evening. The RDA of AIIMS has lent support to the AIIMS students Union in the protest.

"We have officially given our support to the students union today. Tomorrow, we will hold a general body meeting at AIIMS in the evening during which we will decide whether to join the strike or not. The demands of the students are justified and we are against the government's proposal to increase the duration of the MBBS course. Also, the police lathicharge on the protesters is totally unacceptable," said Dr Shashank Punia, General Secretary, RDA, AIIMS.

The protesters said they have submitted a memorandum to the Joint Secretary of the Health Ministry Vishwas Mehta. One of the student leaders said Gulam Nabi Azad will meet them tomorrow at 12 PM, but if their demands were not met, they will go on indefinite strike. "We are not against rural postings, but we want the one- year rural internship to be included as a part of our curriculum either during the MBBS course or at the post- graduate stage," said Dr Anirudh Lochan, national secretary of the Young Doctors Association of India.


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