Doctors go on strike in Assam to protest colleague’s murder in tea estate
Medical services in Assam were affected on Tuesday after doctors began a 24-hour strike to protest the lynching of a 73-year-old doctor in a tea estate in Jorhat district on Saturday even as police arrested eight more people taking the total number of arrested to 30.
“We have arrested eight more people and they have been sent to judicial custody today,” said NV Chandrakant, Superintendent of Police, Jorhat.
Satyajit Borah, the president of the state unit of the Indian Medical Association said doctors stayed away from work across the state including in medical colleges, private hospitals and clinics.
“The strike has been complete and several other bodies representing medical professionals joined in to protest the incident. We demand speedy investigations and arrest of all culprits and adequate security for the medical professionals,” he said. Doctors also took part in candle light processions in the state.
The IMA’s Assam unit had decided withdrawal of medical services except emergency services on September 1.
At least two doctors including one working at a tea estate in Golaghat and the other employed with a tea estate in Dibrugarh resigned in the wake of the murder.
“Due to the prevailing situation in the tea garden of Assam, I feel insecure to continue my services at Numaligarh Tea Estate,” wrote Dr Ajoy Kotoky in his resignation letter on Tuesday.
Ravi Baruah, another doctor at a tea estate in Dibrugarh also resigned.
Vivek Goenka the Chairman of the Indian Tea Association said in a statement, “in the wake of such incidents it has become infeasible for estate managements to run the tea garden hospitals” even as he urged that they be taken over by the state government.
In August, the association made a similar demand citing the crisis facing the industry.
On Saturday, Deben Dutta was beaten to death by a mob at the Teok Tea Estate in Jorhat district. The mob was allegedly angry because Dutta did not arrive in time to treat Somra Majhi, a worker who was brought to the tea estate’s hospital with a head injury. The mob turned violent after Majhi’s death.
Dutta was employed as a senior medical officer at the tea estate.