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Medical services suffer as docs intensify stir

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, May 15: Medical services in several government and private hospitals today suffered badly as the doctors intensified their stir against reservation quotas following brutal lathicharge on ''peacefully demonstrating'' medicos in the national capital and Mumbai.

The issue, though raised by MBBS student in the national Capital, sparked a nation-wide rage among the doctors after lathicharge on doctors, leading to the ''medical bandh'' call by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

But for emergency units, services in Delhi's five premier government hospitals, including AIIMS, and several private hospitals, including Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and Escorts Heart Institute, were severely affected.

''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.

The doctors also held a demonstration at Raj Ghat.

Meanwhile, agitating students, 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.

''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.

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

Mumbai Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil said Madhukar Sankhe, Senior Police Inspector of Malabar Hill police station has been suspended in connection with the lathicharge.

In the North-West, out patient departments (OPDs) in majority of government and private medical colleges were hit.

Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Chandigarh suffered as junior doctors, interns and students in boycotted work to protest government's move towards 27 per cent OBC reservation in professional institutions.

The students of various institutions in the region also started chain hunger strikes, while doctors, wearing black badges, maintained emergency services at the hospitals attached to the medical colleges for the convenience of the public.

The medical students, junior resident doctors and resident doctors of Indira Gandhi Medical College, Himachal Pradesh, held a demonstration outside the civil secretariat and urged the government to drop the quota proposal.

In Gujarat, students intensified their anti-reservation agitation by mobilsing public support. After assembling at BJ Medical College to decide strategy of agitation they fanned out to 20-odd major business centers this morning. They first went to Mahatma Gandhi's statue at busy Ashram Road, students' spokesman Jayesh Vazirani told UNI.

Agitating students distributed handouts to the public to explain their stand on the issue.

Medicos decided to boycott their classes indefinitely in the government medical colleges in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot and Jamnagar, the spokesman said.

Though the Junior Doctors Associations (JDAs) have already extended moral support to the stir, they have not yet joined the strike so that the work in the hospitals do not suffer.

Junior doctors of the Mahatma Gandhi Medical College, Bhopal, also began an indefinite strike to oppose the proposed reservations.

Madhya Pradesh Junior Doctor Association secretary Piyush Vyas told UNI that around 150 junior doctors from the college had started an indefinite strike, while junior doctors of the Jabalpur and Indore medical colleges were expected to join by evening.

The strike was also supported by students of private medical and dental college in Bhopal.

Medical students of Government Medical College and Surat Municipal Institute of Medical Education and Research (SMIMER), in Surat will start an indefinite hunger strike from tomorrow, if the Central government does not withdraw its proposal for reservation.

Students, however, observed a ''symbolic strike'' to protest against the police action against the pro-reservation activists in the metro cities of Delhi and Mumbai.

Expressing solidarity with their Delhi and Mumbai counterparts, a section of medical students in Karnataka boycotted classes and took out protest march.

In Orissa, work in the three medical colleges suffered on the third consecutive day today as students, junior doctors and house surgeons boycotted their classes and work. The SCB college students, meanwhile, boycotted their seventh semester examination as a mark of protest.


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