In a mass suicide attempt, 18 contractual employees of a hospital in Haldwani, 40 km from Nainital, consumed poison on Friday.
District magistrate Hritash Gulshan said the workers were demanding regularisation and had been on a relay strike on the premises of Sushila Tiwari Hospital since January, when the contractor who had hired them withdrew their services from that hospital. He has ordered an probe into the incident.
He said that all the employees were out of danger while two had been kept under observation. “I paid a visit to the two employees at Sushila Tiwari Hospital and found their condition normal,” he said.
“Eleven of the agitating employees who consumed poison are undergoing treatment at Haldwani Base Hospital while the rest are at Sushila Tiwari,” Nainital additional district magistrate DS Garbiyal said. He added that contractual employees were not legally entitled to relarisation.
There were altogether 40 contractual workers on strike but the police managed to prevent the remaining 22 from taking part in the suicide pact, the DM said.
Gulshan refused to comment on reports that the agitating employees attempted suicide when a police posse forcibly tried to remove them from the dharna site. “It would not be fair on my part to make any comment at this stage,” he said.