3,000 doctors resign in MP after court calls strike 'illegal'
Thousands of junior doctors in Madhya Pradesh have resigned, following a High Court order which said their strike was "illegal" and asked them to resume duties by today. The doctors say they will continue the protest until all their demands are met by the state government and will also challenge this judgment in the Supreme Court of India. Here are more details on this.
At a press conference in Bhopal, MP Junior Doctors Association President Dr. Arvind Meena said the state government had committed to fulfill the demands raised by the doctors. "We have been on peaceful strike for four days...An attempt was made to mislead us by getting a petition filed in High Court. You can stop us from strike, but not from resigning," Dr. Meena added.
The resignations came after the Madhya Pradesh High Court termed the strike "illegal" and directed the doctors to get back to work by 2:30 pm on Friday. Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq Ahmed and Justice Sujoy Paul criticized the doctors for striking in the middle of a raging pandemic. Soon after the order, the MP Medical University, Jabalpur scrapped the registrations of 450 junior doctors.
The doctors have demanded that enough beds should be reserved for junior doctors and their family members in case they contract the coronavirus and such treatment should be free of cost. They also asked for a 24 percent hike in their stipend. The resignations were submitted in six medical colleges - GMC Bhopal, MGM Indore, NSCBMC Jabalpur, BMC Sagar, SSMC Rewa, and GRMC Gwalior.
A similar strike was organized on May 6 as well, however, the doctors had resumed work soon after the government promised to meet their demands. Officials of the state government maintain the doctors' demands have been approved and a 17% raise in their stipend has already been proposed. But the association says, "Till they raise it to that limit (24%), the strike will continue."
On a related note, doctors across the country have been protesting Yoga guru Ramdev's recent controversial comments. In a viral video, Ramdev had said that modern medicine is a "stupid science" due to which lakhs of Indians died. Several police complaints were lodged against him.
The Indian Medical Association says that at least 594 doctors have died due to the coronavirus during India's deadly second wave of the pandemic. Over 100 of these fatalities were reported in Delhi alone, it informed. During the first wave of the pandemic, the number of doctors who died of COVID-19 was 748, according to the IMA's data.
India faced the world's worst coronavirus outbreak over the past few months, reporting lakhs of new infections and thousands of deaths every day. Daily cases in India had peaked at 4,14,000 nearly one month ago. The situation has since improved - 1.32 lakh cases were reported in the past 24 hours. However, a sluggish vaccination program remains a huge concern for the Indian authorities.