After protesting resident doctors employed at state and centre-run government hospitals were detained by Delhi Police on Monday, 27 December, the Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) announced "a complete shutdown of all healthcare institutions today onwards."
In a statement condemning police action, FORDA claimed "police brutality" and called it a "Black day in the history of the medical fraternity".
Dr Anuj Agarwal, resident doctor of Safdarjung Hospital, told The Quint:
"We were peacefully carrying out our protest for a month and seven days in front of Nirman Bhawan. We have always stood by law and order with utmost respect, but the verbal abuses and physical violence by male policemen on female resident doctors on road openly is extremely shameful and can't be expressed in words. Not only ruthless and barbaric, its of utter shame and disgrace! Police snatching phones of doctors, dragging them by touching female doctors inappropriately is unexplainable in words! This is the respect for COVID warriors! Great."
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has lodged an FIR on the charges of rioting, causing obstruction in duty of police personnel, and damaging public property, against the doctors. The case was lodged at IP Estate police station.
‘Thrashed, Dragged, and Detained’: FORDA
Protesting against the delays in NEET-PG counselling, resident doctors' protest march towards the Supreme Court from Maulana Azad Medical College was also halted near the ITO Post Office in Delhi.
FORDA has claimed that doctors who were peacefully protesting were brutally thrashed, dragged, and detained by Delhi Police personnel.
Several videos of the same have been shared on social media.
"Barbaric and ruthless is not a word, even shameless is a small word to describe male policemen dragging the female resident doctors mercilessly! I am in disbelief that these things happened with me and my female colleagues in front of my eyes. I am speechless", a female doctor of Safdarjung hospital told The Quint on condition of anonymity.
The protest march, attended by hundreds, was led by the Federation of Resident Doctors Association.
Doctors raised slogans demanding justice, and for the counselling and admission process to be expedited.
In one of the videos, doctors can be seen telling the police, that "while the government can't give anything in writing, we can give in writing that they won't find a quick solution."
This comes two days after FORDA said in a letter that resident doctors across the country will mass resign if the counselling and the admission process is not expedited.
Doctors Detained, Taken to Sarojini Nagar Police Station
Later on Monday evening, hundreds of doctors were detained while marching towards Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya's residence. They were then taken to the Sarojini Nagar police station.
The FORDA said that 2,500 doctors had been taken into detention.
"Showering flowers was the PR of show off, In reality injustice is pouring in. I am with #CovidWarriors against the tyranny of the central government," Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, sharing a video of the police action.
The doctors were reportedly released from detention around 11:30 pm in the night.
AIIMS RDA Demands Apology From Police & Govt, FAIMA Threatens Shutdown of Services
The Resident Doctors Association of AIIMS, Delhi, on Monday night, demanded the immediate release of all detained doctors, and an apology from the police and the government. The resident doctors also sought a report on the government's plans to expedite NEET PG counselling.
"If no adequate response from the government is received within 24 hours, AIIMS RDA will proceed with a token strike from 29/11/2021, including shutdown of all non-emergency services," warned the AIIMS RDA.
In addition, the Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA) has called for a nationwide withdrawal from all healthcare services, beginning 8 am on Wednesday.
Why Are Resident Doctors Protesting?
Around 5,000 resident doctors across government hospitals in Delhi began another round of strike against the delay in NEET-PG counselling and admission process on 17 December.
The NEET exams which were scheduled for May, were postponed to September due to the second wave of COVID-19.
The delay in the counselling and admission of the new batch of doctors is due to the Centre's decision in July 2021 to give 10% reservation to the students from Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), setting the income limit to Rs 8 lakh per annum for such candidates. The Supreme Court, however, had expressed doubt over the limit set by the Centre.
On 25 November, the central government had said it would form a committee to submit a report to the apex court.
The doctors, however, want the process to be expedited as the non-admission of a fresh batch of resident doctors is leading to a shortage of healthcare workers across the country and the overburdening and exhaustion of the current resident doctors.
On 25 December, FORDA had said in a statement:
"Since no concrete measure has been taken by authorities yet in the concerned matter, it was unanimously decided to continue the agitation. During the meeting it was also discussed that protesting resident doctors across the nation will be forced to go forward with 'mass resignation' from services if the demand is not met at the earliest."
On Friday, 24 December, the fifth day of protest in front of Nirman Bhawan, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), resident doctors' associations' representatives from Punjab, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Haryana had also joined the resident doctors of Delhi outside Nirman Bhawan.
Meanwhile, emergency and OPD services at three Centre-run facilities, including Safdarjung, RML, and Lady Hardinge hospitals and some Delhi government-run hospitals have been affected.
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