Indian doctors protest, threaten strike over postgraduate admissions
New Delhi Dec 28 (EFE).- Hundreds of doctors from several hospitals in New Delhi on Tuesday held a protest, a day after another demonstration by their colleagues demanding speedy hiring of new resident doctors was violently repressed by the police.
The protests began to intensify over the weekend and have led to the suspension of emergency services in several major public hospitals of the Indian capital, amid calls for a general strike.
On Tuesday the doctors staged sit-in protests outside public health institutions and threatened to paralyze all medical services unless the process to hire new postgraduate students in medical specialty disciplines, suspended for months due to Covid-19, was restarted.
“We strongly condemn this brutal act & demand immediate release of all #ResidentDoctors. There will be complete #Shutdown of Healthcare Institutions. #MedicalFraternity of the nation must come forward in support. We urge all State #RDAs (resident doctors associations) to join the agitation!” the Delhi-based Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association India (FORDA) said in a statement.
The appeal was supported by doctors’ federations in several Indian regions, including the northeastern city of Imphal, capital of the state of Manipur.
“The doctors have been on strike for many days. They have served during the coronavirus risking their lives. Covid-19 is spreading again. They should be in hospitals, not on the streets,” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a public letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, shared on Twitter.
On Monday violent scenes unfolded on the capital’s streets when authorities arrested and hit many of the protesters.
The FORDA said that the resident doctors were “protesting peacefully,” for their demands when they were “thrashed, dragged and detained” by the police.
Images shared on social media showed security personnel physically lifting and carrying away protesters, while other demonstrators were shown with injuries as a result of the altercations.
The protest has affected a large number of patients arriving in the emergency care centers of Delhi hospitals for immediate medical attention.
The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (Postgraduate), whose results have been delayed, allows resident doctors to start studying a specialty in postgraduate courses in order to join the Indian health services as senior doctors.
Resident doctors’ associations have extended support for the protests and condemned the “inhuman” treatment meted out to their colleagues. EFE