The doctors’ stir that has hit health services in several parts of Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday intensified with 200 medicos in Agra joining the resignation spree to protest the attack on their colleagues in Kanpur.
As the protest entered the fifth day, the IMA gave a 48-hour ultimatum to the Akhilesh Yadav government to fulfil its demands — arrest of SP MLA Irfan Solanki allegedly involved in the Friday clash, action against SSP Yashashvi Yadav and withdrawal of charges against 24 junior doctors, who were granted bail on Monday night but refused to come out of jail.
The issue has also taken a political dimension with Opposition BJP and Aam Aadmi Party extending support to the stir, that has also affected Lucknow, Varanasi, Aligarh, Ghaziabad, among other areas.
A day after 300 medical faculty of GSV medical college resigned, around 200 junior doctors of Agra Medical College tendered their resignation to Uttar Pradesh government, ignoring an appeal made by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to call off the stir.
The protest resonated in Delhi also with resident doctors of prestigious AIIMS sporting black badges and holding a candlelight vigil to express solidarity with the striking doctors.
“The strike of junior doctors will continue till the three demands of the Kanpur doctors were met,” said vice president of Indian Medical Association’s UP unit and president of Agra unit Dr. Sudhir Dhakre.
The agitating doctors, led by IMA, said they were trying to meet the President and the Prime Minister in New Delhi to apprise him of the situation. They have also sought time to meet Governor B.L. Joshi and the Chief Minister over the issue.
Meanwhile, the 24 junior doctors who were granted bail last night have refused to come out of the jail till the three demands are met.
Medical services were severely affected in several parts of Uttar Pradesh causing major inconvenience to patients.
Dr. Dhakre said the IMA has given a 48-hour deadline to Uttar Pradesh government to meet the doctors’ demands, otherwise the strike would take an pan India dimension.
Meanwhile, the arrested 24 junior doctors, who were granted bail by a local court last night, refused to come out of jail today until all charges against them were quashed and other demands met, DM (City) Avinash Singh said.
The jail authorities are trying to release them from the jail, Singh said.
Doctors and junior colleagues from KGMC Medical College, Lucknow and super speciality Sanjay Gandhi PGI hospital have also gone on strike in solidarity with the Kanpur medicos.
Ganesh Shankar Medical College Medicine department head and IMA-Kanpur president Dr. Aarti Lal Chandani and Junior Doctors Association chief Dr. N.K. Singh said all medical college doctors in the state will continue their stir until charges against their arrested colleagues are annulled.
Kanpur’s Government Hospitals Ursla and KPM Hospital are open and medical college patients have been transferred there for treatment. In these hospitals only OPD department is functional and very few on-duty doctors were available.
On Monday, Kanpur DM Roshan Jacob warned striking doctors that if they continued with their protest, the Essential Services Maintenance Act could be invoked against them.
When asked about withdrawing the cases lodged against the arrested doctors, Jacob said it had not been decided yet and the decision regarding this could be taken only after investigation.
Meanwhile, the agitation also took a political dimension with AAP and BJP extending support.
AAP leaders Kumar Vishwas and Sanjay Singh met striking doctors and extended their support to the agitation. On Monday night, BJP UP unit president Laxmikant Vajpayi met doctors at the GSV medical college. Former BJP MP Shyam Bihar Mishra is chalking out further strategy on the agitation and planning a sit in with the striking doctors.
A clash broke out on Friday night between supporters of SP’s Aryanagar MLA Irfan Solanki and junior doctors of the GSV Medical college, after the MLA objected to some junior doctors allegedly misbehaving with an elderly person at the Medical College Square, Kanpur SSP Yashasvi Yadav had said.
Following unruly scenes, the police resorted to lathicharge to disperse the crowd, in which several people, including police personnel, journalists and many civilians were injured. The MLA was also injured in the clash, he had said.
36 junior doctors were arrested after the incident. Twelve of them were later released. Almost 400 medical students and junior doctors got injured and a dozen are serious, Dr. Chandani had said.