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Doctors protest in Delhi over NEET PG exam, prompting police crackdown

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Resident doctors’ organisations in Delhi threatened to close medical services on Monday, citing a severe police assault on their protest against the delay in college allotments following the NEET postgraduate exam.

The Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA), which has been leading the protest for the past month, said 4,000 of its members halted a sit-in at the Sarojini Nagar police station at midnight on Monday in order to comply with the coronavirus night curfew. They claimed that earlier in the day, they were stopped from marching towards the Health Ministry’s offices.

Request to shut down health care services

The Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA) has requested that all RDAs affiliated with it, as well as other doctors’ organisations across India, shut down healthcare services completely beginning Wednesday. The AIIMS Resident Doctors’ Association has come out in favour of FORDA, stating that if the government does not respond adequately within 24 hours, all non-emergency services will be shut down on Wednesday.

resident doctors protest

Many women doctors claimed they were manhandled throughout their march, which culminated in an intense police confrontation and a vigil far into the freezing December night.

Protest by the resident doctors

According to news agency PTI, patient treatment at three major government-run hospitals – Safdarjung, RML, and Lady Hardinge – remained hampered, while younger physicians stated the delay in NEET-PG counselling was preventing an entire cohort from enrolling in medical schools.

They have been requesting the quick recruitment of more doctors, claiming that they are overworked and “working at 66% capacity,” which has been on hold for over a year because the Supreme Court is examining a case relating medical admissions reservation.

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Manish Nigam, president of FORDA, claimed resident doctors at a number of big hospitals “returned their apron (lab coat) as a symbolic sign of rejection of services” on Monday.

“We also tried to march from the Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC) campus to the Supreme Court, but security forces stopped us shortly after we started,” he added, adding that several of the junior doctors were hurt in fights with the cops who used force.

According to a report by NDTV, they said for over six to eight hours, the protesters blocked a part of Delhi’s arterial ITO road. Repeated requests were made to them to move away from the spot, but they continued to jam the road. Later, both the carriageways of the ITO Marg were also blocked by the protesters, according to the police.

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“We spoke to the association members and tried to sort out the issue, but they continued to block the roads,” a police official said.

The resident doctors’ association on Saturday had said its members will be forced to go for “mass resignation” from services if their demands are not met at the earliest.
The police, on the other hand, denied using excessive force or abusive language, claiming that only 12 protestors were held and afterwards released.

The demonstrators reportedly blocked a section of Delhi’s ITO route for more than six to eight hours. Despite repeated calls for them to leave the area, they remained to clog the route. According to the police, the demonstrators thereafter stopped both carriageways of the ITO Marg.

“We spoke with the members of the association and attempted to resolve the situation, but they continued to block the roadways,” a police official stated.

If their demands are not granted as soon as possible, the resident doctors’ association announced on Saturday that its members will be obliged to “mass quit” from their positions.

(This story was not purely edited by The North Eastern Chronicle staff and is published from a syndicated feed)

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