NEET-PG counseling protest: AIIMS resident doctors association withdraws tomorrow's strike
The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Residents Doctors Association (RDA) in Delhi on Tuesday announced its decision to withdraw the December 29 strike. Doctors had planned to withdraw healthcare services starting 8 am on Wednesday in protest against the delay in NEET-PG counseling. The RDA said its demands had now been met after Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya provided assurances.
- Due to the protest, health services have been hit at Delhi's government-run hospitals, and patients were seen waiting in queues outside medical facilities.
- The protesting doctors allege they are overworked as the long delay in counseling has reduced the workforce.
- The developments came as India faces the possibility of another COVID-19 wave due to the emergence of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.
Mandaviya had assured the NEET-PG counseling would be held soon and reproached the Delhi Police for manhandling protesters, the AIIMS Delhi RDA noted in a statement. "We hope that the matter will be resolved at the earliest," it said. "All services to continue as normal." However, the doctors' body said it will "act with haste... if the authorities do not stick to their promise."
Earlier on Tuesday, Mandaviya addressed a press conference saying the NEET-PG counseling is delayed as the matter is sub-judice. The issue is notably being heard by the Supreme Court and the next hearing is scheduled for January 6. "We request the court to expedite the issue so that the counseling can be started at the earliest," he told reporters.
Immediately after the meeting with Mandaviya, protesting doctors had said the strike will continue. They demanded a written apology for alleged police brutality against the protesters in Delhi. Dr. Manish, the president of the Federation of Resident Doctors' Association (FORDA), said a meeting will be held at 8 pm on Tuesday to decide the future course of action.
On Monday, the protest by doctors took a violent turn as many of them were allegedly manhandled by the Delhi Police. The police, however, denied the allegations. Another standoff was reported on Tuesday as doctors were stopped from marching to the Supreme Court as part of their protest. Police officials shut the gates at Safdarjung Hospital to prevent the protesters from leaving.