Maharashtra medical education minister Girish Mahajan has warned doctors who are on strike to join duty by Wednesday evening or face stern action, including salary cut for six months.
The government will cut six months’ salary of the doctors who do not follow the orders, Mahajan declared.
“We have intimated to the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) to ask their doctors to resume duty by 8pm tonight (Wednesday), else get ready to face six months’ salary cut,” the minister said.
Junior doctors in the state are on strike since the last four days protesting the rise in violence against them by relatives of patients.
Despite a rap by the Bombay high court, around 3,000 resident doctors in government hospitals in Maharashtra continued their mass casual leave agitation for the third day on Wednesday.
Health care services for the poor were hit significantly across the state as the agitation threatened to escalate with other government doctors expressing support and the state hitting back by serving show-cause notices to the resident doctors.
Boosting the doctors’ cause, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Wednesday expressed support to the doctors’ demand for implementation of the Violence Against Doctors Act, 2010, and adequate security provisions for them as per the high court directives.
IMA president Sagar Mundada said its 45,000 member doctors in Maharashtra and over 200,000 in India also oppose any punitive action against the agitating resident medicos.
On Tuesday, Bombay high court Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice GS Kulkarni made strong observations on the resident doctors and asked them to join duties, failing which the government was free to take action against them.
MARD president Yashowardhan Kabra said attacks on medicos have left them shattered and “it is difficult to work under such life-threatening conditions”.
Meanwhile, the BJP on Wednesday urged the doctors to resume office, saying duty towards mankind was far more important.
“It (strike) could be for a genuine cause but I think that holding up an entire hospital and a state is most unfortunate. There are patients which came from various places of Maharashtra. We must be more sympathetic towards them and I hope the doctors will understand that there is duty towards mankind which is far more important than self,” BJP leader Shaina NC said.
(With agency inputs)