200 government doctors have resigned in Agra, in solidarity with their colleagues who were allegedly beaten up last Friday by supporters of Samajwadi Party legislator Irfan Solanki.
On Friday night, the Samajwadi Party legislator and his supporters allegedly accused doctors at Kanpur's Halet hospital of mistreating a patient.
In the violence that erupted, the police used batons. 24 doctors were arrested. Their colleagues point out that no action was taken against the politician and his supporters. (Read) Doctors say that to please the Samajwadi Party, the police even registered fake cases against the doctors. They have asked the Prime Minister and the President to step in.
The doctors blamed the police crackdown on Senior Superintendent of Police Yashaswi Yadav. The doctors say he favoured Irfan Solanki and want him removed.
The striking doctors also say they will not return to work till a police case is filed against the Samajwadi Party legislator. They waved photographs today of alleged violence on doctors by the police and political workers. Irfan Solanki said he would "resign" if any evidence was found against him.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has appealed to doctors to get back to work. "The CCTV footage of whatever happened in Kanpur is available and will be probed. If the MLA is found guilty, we will take action," he said.
Doctors at government hospitals have been joined by thousands of others in private practice in the strike which is now in its fourth day.
OPD and emergency services have been crippled in government hospitals because of the strike. The doctors are facing criticism from many quarters for not responding to a growing crisis, but they insist critical services have not been hit.
Meanwhile, leaders of Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party like Kumar Vishwas and Sanjay Singh have extended their support to the agitation.
The arrested doctors were granted bail this morning, but reportedly refused to leave the prison until their demands were met. Government officials say the cases against them cannot be withdrawn till the investigation is completed.