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Doctors say no to Arjun
Anti-quota stir spreads
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

A child is examined by a LNJP Hospital doctor during the open OPD outside the hospital during an anti-quota strike by doctors in New Delhi on Monday.
A child is examined by a LNJP Hospital doctor during the open OPD outside the hospital during an anti-quota strike by doctors in New Delhi on Monday. — Tribune photo

New Delhi, May 15
Medical services in several parts of the country were disrupted as the anti-reservation agitation spread to Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Kanpur and several other cities today. Private doctors also joined the IMA-called nationwide bandh.

Work in Delhi hospitals came to a virtual standstill as resident doctors joined the strike. They also turned down Union Minister for HRD Arjun Singh's invitation for talks.

While emergency services, handled by senior doctors were operational, it was the OPDs (out-patient departments) and the clinics, which remained suspended.

“We are aware of the inconvenience to patients, which is why we have been running parallel OPDs. Ironically, it is the government, responsible for this situation that has failed to take note and act,” said a senior consultant in All-India Institute of Medical Sciences.

In what could be described as a balancing act, striking resident doctors in most hospitals were seen running “parallel OPDs” out in the open. “We are also on strike, but have agreed to see patients as well. We are not failing in our duty towards the patients, it is the government, which has failed us,” said a group of resident doctors in AIIMS.

The protesting medical students also refused to meet the HRD Minister, Arjun Singh, claiming that they “feel let down and have no faith in him”.

The students however are not averse to the idea of meeting the Prime Minister. “There is nothing we want to discuss with Arjun Singh. We want the PM to step in and take note of our demands,” said a group of students on hunger strike on the AIIMS campus.

Inside the hospital where doctors claimed to be doing their bit, the desolate OPDs and the sight of people sprawled on hospital floors was proof enough of the trouble that patients were undergoing.

“He was asked to come for chemotherapy, but with this strike on, we are not sure whether we need to go back or just stay on,” said Imran Khan, who was accompanying his son.

Hospitals were teeming with patients, some of them in excruciating pain who were left to their own devices by the strike. “I had heard about the strike, but still wanted to take a chance. I was sure that someone will see my son, but I have been told that there are doctors only in the emergency and the routine treatment will have to wait,” complained Shailesh Kumar, a resident of Burari, in the North of the city.

Representatives of major hospitals in the city gathered at AIIMS to express their solidarity with the students who have begun an indefinite hunger strike.

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Cop suspended for lathi charge on doctors
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, May 15
Mumbai’s Police Commissioner A.N. Roy today suspended a police inspector who led a lathi charge against protesting medical students on Saturday.

Mr Roy told reporters this morning that Senior Inspector Madhukar Sankhe of the Malabar Hill Police Station was placed under suspension pending an inquiry. Sankhe personally led his men in caning doctors and medical students protesting against proposed quotas for OBCs outside Raj Bhavan. Several doctors received serious injuries in the incident which was broadcast by television channels.

With protests mounting, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh admitted that the lathi charge was brutal and the use of force was not warranted.

The Mumbai chapter of the Indian Medical Association is demanding that Mr Roy himself be removed as Mumbai’s Police Commissioner. “We will be approaching the National Human Rights Commission as well,” Dr Sunita Kshirsagar, president, Mumbai chapter of IMA said.

However, the state government turned down the demand for a judicial probe. The inquiry is being conducted by the Police Commissioner himself and a report would be submitted in a week.

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