Maharashtra Doctors Defy State, Delhi Braces For Strike As Protest Spreads

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Maharashtra Doctors Defy State, Delhi Braces For Strike As Protest Spreads

Doctors across Maharashtra have been on strike since Sunday.


New Delhi:  The huge health crisis in Maharashtra, caused by the doctors' strike, is likely to spread to Delhi today as nearly 40,000 doctors are set to go on mass casual leave in the nation's Capital. Across Delhi, resident doctors from nearly 40 government hospitals, including those run by civic bodies, are expected to go on mass leave, but those on emergency duty will work.

The Indian Medical Association, the top body of doctors, had called the strike yesterday, offended by the Maharashtra government's 'join work or face action' ultimatum.  This morning, doctors of Delhi's premier hospital All India Institute of Medical Sciences expressed solidarity with the striking doctors of Maharashtra.  They are expected to join in the strike later today.

At the Ram Manohar Lohia hospital - one of the largest government-owned hospitals in Delhi - more than 1,200 resident doctors are on strike. The doctors say if the administration and authorities do not address their grievances they will issue a call for a pan-India agitation.

The doctors at AIIMS had turned up for work yesterday, but they expressed solidarity with their colleagues in Maharashtra. "We will work with helmets on in the emergency department tomorrow as well," Dr Vijay Gurjar, chief of Resident Doctors' Association at AIIMS, was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.

In Maharashtra, the stand-off between the doctors and the government continues. The doctors, who had gone on mass casual leave since Sunday, demanding proper security, are yet to join work. The government had asked them to start work by 8 pm, warning if they failed to comply, they will lose six months' salary.

The High Court, where a petition is asking the doctors to join work is pending, will hear the matter again today. On Tuesday, Chief Justice Manjula Chellur had said, "If you (doctors) do not want to work, then resign. You are not factory workers that you will resort to such protests. Shame on you. How can doctors behave in such a manner?"

The civic authorities in Mumbai have served notice to more than 1,000 doctors. Among them are 350 doctors from Sion hospital, where the attack on a doctor by a patient's relatives had triggered the strike. A day before, a similar incident incident had been reported from Dhule.


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