Cracking the whip against striking medicos, J&K government has suspended 26 junior doctors and reverted the services of at least 24 assistant surgeons and registrars to health department.

The tough stand of the government triggered strong protests from the medicos, who threatened mass migration, even as their indefinite strike entered its 20th day on Saturday.

Health services have been badly affected in Government Medical College and several hospitals in Jammu district though emergency services were being run by senior doctors.

“While taking serious note of the problems faced by the people in different hospitals due to the strike by the junior doctors in Jammu and Srinagar, the government placed 26 doctors under suspension,” an official spokesman said.

He said 11 assistant surgeons were reverted from medical education department to health department.

“Besides, 13 registrars and demonstrators have been reverted to health department,” he said.

The step was taken after the fourth round of talks between the government and the striking doctors failed to end the deadlock on Friday.

Meanwhile, doctors joint action committee said they will gherao the secretariat on Monday.

“The question of termination of doctors does not arise as we are voluntarily planning to migrate enmass”, Doctors Joint Action Committee (DJAC) spokesman Mehrajuddin said.

“In the last meeting with the government, the doctors’ representatives told the ministers to show the blue print to concede their demands, but instead they wanted us to call off the strike. We have not closed the doors for talks. The fact is that government is not serious in resolving our problems,” Dr. Mehrajuddin said.

Junior doctors in Jammu have been on strike, called by Doctors Joint Action Committee (DJAC), since October 5, while their counterparts in the Valley went on strike from October 9 in support of their demands, including removal of pay anomalies and issue of regularisation.

Finance Minister A R Rather is heading the six-member team of ministers and advisors to negotiate with the striking doctors.