Following a series of attacks and ‘unending’ threat calls for ‘rangdari’ money from its members, a terrified Bihar unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Wednesday decided to take to the streets for the protection of lives of doctors.
“We are planning to launch an agitation, which initially, would be in the form of either candle march or silent procession,” said state IMA president Dr Sachchidanand Kumar.
Once again, the doctors are finding themselves at the receiving end. They have become the soft targets of criminals,” he added.
“Our delegation met the ADG, police, on Tuesday and requested him to take the incidents seriously and ensure that such cases are not repeated,” he said.
The IMA president said since September 30 last year, as many as 23 cases of attack and threat calls for ‘rangdari’ tax from doctors have been reported across the state, which included the latest incident of attack on Dr PK Jha on Tuesday night, while he was coming to Patna from Paliganj.
Just three days before the incident, the proprietor of a leading hospital in the state capital Dr AK Singh was asked by unidentified criminals to pay Rs 50 lakh as ‘rangdari’ money. On Monday last, Rs 2 lakh was demanded from Forbesganj doctor Harikishore Singh. An FIR has also been lodged in this case.
Four months ago, over 160 terror stricken medical doctors in Bihar had applied for arm licences to protect themselves from criminals. The list had included 41 doctors from the Kosi division comprising Saharsa, Supaul and Madhepura, where members of the medical fraternity received frequent calls from anti- social elements for extortion.
The rest of the applicants belonged to Purnia, Gaya, Gopalganj, Hajipur and Siwan districts.
Honorary secretary of the Saharsa unit of the IMA Dr Ganesh Kumar, on whom a kidnapping attempt had been made on January 24, 2016, said around 25 doctors in the district had applied for arm licences.
“But till date, none of the applicants has been granted licence to possess arms,” he said, adding the local unit of the IMA would soon resort to strike for obtaining the licences.
As such, the IMA had appealed to the director general of police (DGP) to sanction arm licences liberally to the doctors for the safety of their lives and property. “We firmly believe that in an atmosphere of fear and insecurity, doctors can’t deliver their best and ultimately they would be forced to migrate to safer places,” said the association’s president.
According to him, in an atmosphere of threat and extortion, young doctors were not inclined to work in Bihar.
The Bihar State Health Services Association (BSHSA) has identified 115 government-run hospitals across the state as super sensitive from the security angle and urged the government to deploy armed forces there for safety of doctors, particularly the lady members of the fraternity.
According to the BSHSA’s Ranjit Kumar, hospitals located at Paliganj, Bakhtiyarpur and Mokama in Patna district and the health facilities at Neem Chak Bathani, Mohanpur, Banke Bazar, Amas and Fatehpur in Gaya district can be adjudged as super sensitive, for they have been frequently attacked by the anti-social elements.