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IMA supports doctors' stir, health services in tailspin

Criticising use of force on protesting docs, it called a bandh on May 15. In pics

india Updated: May 13, 2006 01:03 IST

Expressing solidarity with medical students in their anti-quota agitation, Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Friday asked resident doctors and faculty associations in hospitals in Delhi to go on a 24-hour strike with immediate effect and called a bandh on May 15.

Criticising the alleged use of force by Delhi police on protesting students, IMA President Sanjeev Malik claimed "already some of the doctors in various hospital have gone on strike and rest of them will go on strike tomorrow."

Health services hit

Malik claimed the strile call was expected to affect the services very badly in premier government hospitals like AIIMS, LNJP and Safdarjung.

He said that during the May 15 bandh, besides the government hospitals, the doctors in private hospitals were also expected to participate.

He said the IMA has also asked the private practitioners to participate in the bandh.

He said if even after all these government refused to withdraw the proposed move to reserve seats for OBCs in elite educational institutes and central universities then the Association will call a nation-wide bandh on May 25.

Students clash with police again

Earlier, reviving their protest against the Government's move to reserve another 27 per cent seats in centres of higher education, hundreds of medical students marched towards the Prime Minister's office on Friday, halting noon hour traffic in Central Delhi and forcing police to use water cannons and teargas shells.

Surrounded by riot police, the students blocked traffic on the Rajpath when stopped from progressing towards the PM's North Block office.

Soon, they were bundled into 13 police buses and taken to the Connaught Place, Chanakya Puri and Tughlaq Road police stations.

"Arjun Singh Down, Down", they shouted in unison against the Union Human Resources Minister as police aimed the water cannons at them. Later, police also lobbed teargas shells to push them back.

A police spokesman said nearly a dozen policemen were injured and taken to hospital due to "violence indulged in by the students".

According to Amitasha Sinha of Lady Hardinge Medical College, 20 students were injured when police rained lathis at them.

Junior docs join stir

In a related development later, junior doctors at the All India Institute of Medical College, Guru Tegh Bahadur, Loknayak Jaiprakash Narain, Lady Hardinng and other hospitals went on a flash strike in support of the students' demands.

The protest near India Gate was staged at the end of a march from Lady Hardinge Medical College through the central business district of Connaught Place.

Traffic on the route was thrown off gear because of the protest. Since the Assembly elections are over and the election code does not apply any longer, the Prime Minister and Mr Arjun Singh should make their stand clear on the reservation issue, they said, reiterating their point that the quota move was anti-merit and would push back India's development.

Students from Delhi's five medical colleges, under the banner of 'Youth for Equality', with support from United Students', Youth for Justice and other organisations, have been agitating since April 27. They have also been boycotting lectures.

Representatives of the medical students -- from Maulana Azad Medical College, Lady Hardinge Medical College, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, University College of Medical Sciences and Vardhaman Mahavir Medical College -- had met Arjun Singh on April 27.

According to the agitating students, he had declined to discuss the issue till after the elections at the meeting.

A day earlier, on April 26, the students had clashed with police when stopped from reaching the Minister's bunglow enmasse to petition him against the Government move.

First Published: May 12, 2006 09:33 IST