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Doctors strike work; Medical services hit across capital

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, May 15 (UNI) Medical services in government and private hospitals in the capital were severely hit today as doctors struck work against police action on Mumbai's agitating students and the Government proposal to reserve 27 per cent seats for OBCs in centres of higher learning.

Patients were being sent back as senior doctors, consultants, resident and junior doctors boycotted work on the call of a ''medical bandh'' by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

But for emergency units, OPD services in Delhi's 5 premier government hospitals including AIIMS, and several private hospitals, including Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, were severely impacted.

''The operations have been impacted. Only the emergency unit is functioning. Otherwise patients are being sent back. Our doctors are supporting the IMA call and the anti-reservation agitation,'' Sir Ganga Ram Hospital Chairman Dr S K Sama told UNI.

However, emergency units of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the Safdarjang, Guru Tegh Bahadur, Maulana Azad and the Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narain Hospitals were functioning.

The doctors held protests at Raj Ghat today.

Accusing the doctors of ''playing with the lives'' of patients, Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss threatened to take stringent action against them.

Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh also reiterated that he was willing to talk to the striking doctors.

The Delhi Government has cancelled leave of doctors in its hospitals with immediate effect in view of the strike.

The Government has also drawn up an action plan to ensure that patients are attended to in all units of the hospitals including the intensive care and casualty.

''Leave of all the doctors with the Delhi Government has been cancelled due to the strike.... The patients are suffering and for that these doctors are being called back,'' a senior Health Ministry official said.

Meanwhile, agitating students under the aegis of 'Youth for Equality', who started an indefinite hunger strike yesterday at AIIMS, said they will continue with the agitation till the government fulfills the demand of a roll-back.

Students from the Delhi University and some lawyers lent support to the students.

''This agitation is not just limited to medical students.

Students from across the country are joining the agitation.

Today students from Delhi College of Engineering joined us,'' said Amitasha Sinha of Lady Hardinge Medical College.

About 100 medical students began the indefinite fast on Sunday.

A fasting female student from Lady Hardinge Medical College, collapsed this morning and was taken to AIIMS Emergency unit.

''She had low pulse and dehydration. She is fine now and has joined the strike back,'' Ms Sinha said.

Addressing the protest demonstration at Rajghat, IMA President Sanjeev Malik criticised political parties for not supporting to the agitation waged by medical students and doctors.

''It is a spontaneous movement....The Government wants to suppress it," he said.

He demanded a review of the reservation policy.

''A new reservation policy should be put in place which should be on the basis of the economic status of the students,'' Dr Malik claiming that the one-day medical strike was a total success.

''The strike is complete. However, we have kept emergency and critical services out of the purview of the strike," he added.

Meanwhile Delhi RWAs Federation under URJA today expressed support for the ongoing students' anti-reservation movement terming the quota proposal as "unfortunate, untimely and undemocratic at the very least".

On Friday medical students in Mumbai braved police batons while protesting against increase in OBC quota.

The peaceful protest turned unruly when the police used force to break open students' cordon obstructing traffic. A few girl medicos suffered injuries during the melee.

Hundreds of medical students clashed here with the police on Friday as they tried to march towards the Prime Minister's North Block office in protest against the Government proposal.

The students say the reservation move is anti-merit and would push back India's development.

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