Senior doctors in Uttar Pradesh and Indian Medical Association have called off their support to the six-day strike, which was launched by medicos in Kanpur against the manhandling and beating up of medical students, doctors and faculty members of GSVM Medical College by the police, following the local MLA-doctors scuffle in Kanpur.
Doctors Protest Against the Kanpur Incident (Photo Credit - Medicos Against Injustice)
Doctors Protest Against the Kanpur Incident (Photo Credit – Medicos Against Injustice)
Reacting on the news of IMA headquarters calling off the strike, which was scheduled on Thursday, Dr Neeraj Nagpal, convenor of Medicos Legal Action Group and former president of IMA Chandigarh, said, “This is a matter of concern. Have we really got what we wanted? A strike call is the most potent weapon which should be used selectively. Giving call and then withdrawing without achieving our goals sends a wrong message. What has been achieved?”
According to Dr Nagpal, the SSP, DIG, and SP have been transferred not suspended and as the high court said “it is not to be regarded as a punishment”; MLA Irfan Solanki continues “to smirk publically”; no news as yet of cases having been withdrawn against the arrested medical students; and there is still no clarity of whether compensation has been given by the administration to injured and for damage to the college property.
“Maybe I am not in sync with leaders at IMA HQs but these are issues which bother me,” Dr Nagpal added.
A delegation of doctors, including the top representatives of IMA, Dr J B Patel and Dr Narendra Saini met Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav last evening. The leader assured them of independent probe and further action by the state government, however the talks largely remained inconclusive and IMA decided to carry a nationwide protest today. A shift from its stand is apparently due to pressure by the UP government and the Allahabad High Court.
Meanwhile, the 24 medical students who were lodged in jail have been released on bail but the charges on them still remain. The undergraduates, postgraduate junior doctors and resident doctors continue to stage protest as a mark of unfulfilment of their demands. The students demanded that the arrested students should be expunged and all charges should be dropped against them unconditionally.
Gaurav, an MBBS student of GSVM Medical College, Kanpur and one of the representatives of the students who are protesting against the incident, told India Medical Times, “As a gesture to pose our faith in the judiciary and in those who have assured us to take action against those found guilty by the inquiry committee, we have, for meanwhile, put the strike only on hold. Before calling off the strike officially, we are holding discussion with our counterpart in other cities who have lent support to us. All our demands have been more or less met. And we have respected and followed the High Court’s appeal to resume duties as people have been suffering.”
“IMA had already called off the strike late last evening. Now, it was on students to decide to go by the decision of our seniors. We are holding a General Body Meeting in which present and future course of actions will be discussed,” he said.
Anand Sharma, president, students union, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi who was a part of the students’ meeting held in Delhi, told India Medical times, “We are still holding meetings. We have not yet decided to call off the strike. We want to be confident first that our efforts do not go waste. Once we are satisfied, we might call off the strike.”
On February 28, a clash broke out between supporters of a SP MLA and junior doctors of Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi Memorial (GSVM) Medical College and Hospital, Kanpur over allegedly misbehaving with an elderly person at the Medical College Square. The brawl took an ugly turn with both sides pelting stones at each other. The ensuing disorderly acts instigated police to resort to lathicharge to disperse the crowd. The incident left several people, including police personnel, journalists and many civilians injured. Following the incident 36 junior doctors were arrested, twelve of them were later released.
The incident of manhandling and alleged beating up of doctors and professors generated a nationwide outrage with doctors from several states going on strike.
by Vidhi Rathee