Resident doctors from Delhi’s major government hospitals protesting repeated delays in NEET-PG counselling, alleged that they were beaten, dragged and detained by the police during their march to the Supreme Court.
On the eleventh day of complete withdrawal from all routine and emergency services, the doctors decided to return their white coats to authorities as their demands were not being heard.
OPD services shut down at all government hospitals as the protests intensify.
‘Resident doctors, the so called “Corona Warriors”, protesting peacefully to expedite NEET-PG Counselling in Delhi were brutally thrashed, dragged and detained by cops. There will be complete shutdown of all healthcare institutions today onwards!’ said FORDA in a statement.
The delays in counselling have been due to a clutch of cases pending in the Supreme Court over the recently introduced quota for the economically weaker sections.
The strike was halted for a week and resumed on December 17. Since then, doctors have symbolically returned the ‘thalis, diyas, and flowers’ that were showered on them, as a token of gratitude for their services during the previous Covid waves.
‘There is no respect left for Covid warriors. We are shocked and in disbelief at what happened today. Both male and female doctors were dragged on the road. Several people were injured, some had lacerations from being dragged, others got hit against the barricades, and still other received injuries to their hand when the bus door was closed on it,’ alleged Dr Anuj Aggarwal, general secretary of the resident doctors’ association of Safdarjung hospital where the Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA) President Dr Manish Kumar also works.
Dr Sunil Duchania, vice-president, FORDA, said that all the persons were later released.
The doctors expect their seniors and consultants to join the strike; a decision on the same is yet to come. The president of the Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA) that is leading the strike, was among those detained near ITO in Delhi.
In response, Delhi Police registered an FIR under sections of rioting, causing obstruction in duty and damaging public property against the doctors. Later in the evening, police said they had detained protesters at Sarojini Nagar police station and allowed them to conduct a peaceful march. DCP (South West) Gaurav Sharma said, ‘They were marching and we have stopped them peacefully.’
Additional DCP (Central district) Rohit Meena said, ‘They came to protest and tried to stop the traffic movement. We tried to stop them and they then started marching towards the Supreme Court. We again stopped them after discussing with them. Seven police personnel received minor injuries and they have damaged two buses as well. We are taking legal opinion before lodging any FIR against them.’
Over 2,500 resident doctors were detained at the Sarojini Nagar police station while they were marching towards the Union Health Minister’s residence. In addition to slogans, the national anthem was being sung.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted, ‘Showering flowers was just for show, in reality injustice was being showered. I am with the Covid warriors in their protest against the Central government.’
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi also tweeted on the protests, saying ‘During corona these young doctors stayed away from their families to support all the citizens of the country. Now it is time for the country to stand in support of the doctors to wake the Narendra Modi government, who used police force and did not listen to their demands. There is no need for false PR, the doctors need their right and respect.’
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