K’taka: Doctors Call Off Strike After Assurances of Security
300 doctors sat in protest outside Victoria Hospital, only ending the strike after assurances of stringent security
The Quint DAILY
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After nearly a week of protests against the harassment of a junior doctor at Minto Eye Hospital in Bengaluru on 1 November, doctors in Bengaluru gave up their protests after assurances of heightened security and adequate implementation of the Hospital Act, 2009.
Of the nearly 750 resident junior doctors at Victoria hospital, nearly 300 of them had been sitting in protest the whole day demanding better security measures and protection for government doctors. The Karnataka chapter of the Indian Medical Association had also announced their support to the strike call and all private out patient departments (OPD) had been shut from 6am, save emergency cases.
Speaking to The Quint, Dr Dayanandan, secretary of the Resident Doctors Association (RDA), said that they had called off the strike.
“Our security concerns have been addressed when it comes to the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) campus. We have been promised the deployment of additional police personnel on campus, as of now there are only 2 cops stationed here, this will be enhanced. Authorities have also promised to implement all the relevant sections of the Hospitals Act, 2009,” he said.
What was the Protest About?
According to The News Minute, a mob of around 30 people, allegedly comprising members of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, a pro-Kannada organisation, had mobbed a female postgraduate student who was on duty at Minto Eye Hospital on 1 November, questioning her about an incident from July where several patients allegedly lost their eyesight due to botched surgical procedures.
The situation took a turn for the worse when the student was harassed for speaking to the crowd in English and not Kannada. The crowd was reportedly at the hospital to “seek compensation” on behalf of those who had suffered due to the surgeries. Despite a complaint being filed the same day, it took several days for an FIR to be registered at the VV Puram police station.
Since then, doctors from Victoria hospital and other departments of BMRCI began protesting outside the OPD. In a gesture of solidarity, the IMA too announced a call to strike on 8 November from 6 am to 6 pm.
Speaking to the press about why such a prolonged protest was necessary, a junior doctor told ANI:
“Such incidents shouldn't be happening in the first place. We have seen this happen repeatedly over the past few years and everybody has ignored it because we know we cant stop everything, stop our services, we cannot stop doing our work whatever happens. But this is it, we have to stop this somewhere. A revolution has to start somewhere. We regret the inconvenience caused to the public, that was not our intention at all. From Day 1, we have been saying this it's not our intention. What our intention is that we need to make sure such incidents never happen, all of us feel safe in our hospitals. We are almost all the time here, more than our homes, we are here so hospital is our home so if we feel unsafe in our homes, we don;t know where else we can go to (sic),” she said.
30 Members of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike Taken Into Custody
Nearly 30 people from the Karnataka Raksha Vedike were taken into police custody on Friday in connection with the probe, TNM reported.
However, protesting doctors claimed that this had nothing to do with their ongoing protest to draw attention to the plight of doctors.
“Nothing to do with them arrested. This was a statewide protest to ensure doctors have safe working conditions,” clarified Dr Dayanandan.
(With inputs from ANI and The News Minute)
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