Raj govt arrests 1000 striking doctors: Reports

Raj govt arrests 1000 striking doctors: Reports Jaipur: The indefinite strike by doctors in Rajasthan, which entered the third day on Friday, has so far claimed around a dozen lives and crippled medical services in the state.

All the government doctors working in hospitals, dispensaries, primary health centres and resident doctors of all the six medical colleges are on strike.

Private doctors and medical teachers also stopped work today for four and two hours respectively in support of in-service doctors who are demanding redressal of their long-pending demands of pay hike and time-bound promotions.

They also threatened the state government to join the strike on Sunday if the "justified" demands of the government doctors were not met by then.

Due to unavailability of treatment and medical assistance, around a dozen patients including at least five in Jodhpur and one in Jaipur have died so far. Deaths were reported in Sikar, Bikaner, Bharatpur districts also.

Doctors were also arrested RESMA (Rajasthan Essential Services Maintenance Act) from different parts.

"We have reports that near about 1,000 government doctors and resident doctors in all across the state have been arrested under RESMA since beginning of the strike," Dr Mahesh Sharma, Vice President of All Rajasthan in-service doctors' association, claimed today.

"It is very painful that around twelve patients have died at different hospitals but it is all due to the state government," he said.

However, police did not divulge details of arrests and deaths.

Dr SS Agrawal, Hon Secretary, Indian Medical Association, Rajasthan branch said, "all the 6116 in-service doctors are on strike for their justified demands since December 21 but the government has no sensitivity. Today, around 10,000 private doctors and 2000 medical teachers joined them for certain period".

He said that if the government doctors' demands were not met, every doctor in the state would be on strike from Sunday.

On the other hand, the state medical and health minister Duru Miyan said that the government is opened for all talks and negotiations.

He said after a high level meeting that the government is making all possible efforts to minimise the impact of the strike by engaging retired doctors, and the doctors of BSF, Army and Railways.

"We have sought help from BSF, Army and Railways and made additional arrangements. The government is open for talks because the strike is not in the interest of the people," the minister said.

On the other hand, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) condemned the state government's move to invoke RESM and termed it a suppressive step.

"Action against doctors is undemocratic and a suppressive move by the government and RESMA should be lifted with immediate effect so that doctors may return to their hospitals," Hetram Beniwal, state president of CITU said.

"The government should clarify why it did not take step to negotiate with doctors when the doctors had given them enough time for that before the strike," he said.

The CITU also appealed from the doctors to understand the problem being faced by patients and take their decisions to end the strike by making some positively consensus.

Meanwhile, the Rajasthan government has suspended nine government doctors for remaining absent from work.

The doctors who have been suspended are Dr Nasreen Bharti (Jaipur), Dr Rakesh Gupta and Dr SK Brijesh (Tonk), Dr Ashok Chaudhary (Sikar), Dr Rajkumar Saxena, Dr MC Jain, Dr J Sharma (Alwar), Dr PC Kothari and Dr Pradeep Chaudhary (Sirohi).

Principal Secretary of Medical and Health, B Sharma said that the government is engaging retired professors and doctors on daily honorarium basis.

While a MBBS degree holder is being offered Rs 2,000 per day, specialists are being given Rs 3,000 per day, he said. A night allowance of Rs 500 is also being given to these doctors.