A spurt in number of cases of doctors being threatened, assaulted and even abducted for ransom has been reported from Bihar in the past two months.
Since September 30, nine cases of violence against doctors have been filed with six of these instances taking place after the Nitish Kumar-Lalu Prasad combine formed the government with brute majority — winning 179 of the 243 seats in the recently concluded Bihar polls — on November 20 this year.
Doctors’ bodies in the state claim that many more such cases remain under wraps.
“In some cases, doctors have already negotiated and paid the ransom without getting us in the loop; they fear for their life,” said president of the Indian Medical Association-Bihar, Dr Sachchidanand Kumar.
On Monday, Dr Manjay Kumar, an Ayush (indigenous medicine) practitioner, was reportedly kidnapped from Supaul. The police have, however, registered a missing person’s case.
The additional director general (law and order) Alok Raj, however, said, “So far no big case of extortion has come up but we are formulating a strategy to counter it.”
The deteriorating law and order situation echoed in the state legislative council on Tuesday — the last day of its winter session — when BJP members put the Grand Alliance government on the defensive.
“Doctors and traders are being attacked continuously. There has been a total collapse of law and order. If this situation continues, professionals will start leaving the state,” said leader of opposition in legislative council, Sushil Kumar Modi, of the BJP.
Fearing the return of dark times — between 1991 and 2005 when, according to statistics compiled by the IMA-Bihar, at least 38 doctors or their wards were kidnapped and 10 doctors killed for ransom —IMA-Bihar and the Bihar State Health Services Association, comprising government doctors, flagged their concern over the recent attacks to the government through the media on Monday.
“We have jointly requested the government to clean and strengthen its police machinery. The police are biased against doctors. The police are not taking action against the perpetrators of crime involving doctors and is even registering fake cases, including those of attempt to murder, against us,” said BHSA general secretary Dr Ranjit Kumar.
Since September 30, nine cases of violence against doctors have been filed
Six of these took place after the Nitish Kumar-Lalu Prasad combine formed the government on Nov 20
In five cases, medical practitioners were assaulted for extortion; there are two cases of demand for ransom
A doctor was shot at on Nov 24 for refusing to pay ransom and another has been allegedly abducted but police have filed a “missing person” complaint.