Over 400 contract workers with the National Rural Health Mission, Punjab, were cane charged after they attempted to stage a protest rally, demanding regularisation.
The protesters comprising nurses, data entry operators, ANMs, counselllors and others, gathered at the Bathinda civil hospital and planned a protest march across the city.
However, the protesters, mostly the nurses, were lathi charged just after they came out of the gate of the hospital.
Two nurses fainted on the spot due to the police action and were admitted at the same hospital.
Bathinda district president NRHM Staff Nurse Union, Punjab, Shinderpal Kaur, said, "More than 400 employees were cane charged even before the protest could begin. We were not even allowed to come out of the civil hospital. Our democratic right to protest was muzzled by canes. Our demands are genuine and pending for a long time. We will not step back until our demands are met."
She added: "In December 2011, the state government issued the notification, regularizing these workers. It has not been implemented so far. We have also been demanding pay equal to those of the employees of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and also that the wages when they were on strike for around two months."
SHO thermal police station Harpreet Singh said, "More than 90 nurses have been rounded-up. No arrests have been made. Cases will be registered against the nurses and the injured have admitted to the hospital."