On Monday, hundreds of resident doctors across the country's capital took to the streets in protest with medic and police personnel clashing, leading to injuries in Delhi. The doctors have been agitating against the delay in NEET-PG 2021 counselling for over ten days now. On Wednesday, the agitation turned violent and according to reports, several people were left injured.
Visuals of police personnel beating and violently dragging protesters have gone viral on social media, leading to outrage.
Why are doctors protesting?
Resident doctors across the country have for some time been involved in protests against the delay in NEET-PG 2021 counselling. The protests are being spearheaded by The Federation of Resident Doctors' Association (FORDA). The organisation claimed that resident doctors of a large number of major hospitals on Monday "returned their lab coats in a symbolic gesture of rejection of services".
The protesters have previously embarked on a 'taali, thali' campaign, symbolic burning of 'diyas' and the return of lab coats - which is the symbol of our medical service. On Saturday, FORDA said that its members will be forced to go for "mass resignation" from services if their demands are not met at the earliest. No response from the government has come yet on the matter.
How did the protests turn violent?
On Monday, the protests took a dramatic turn after the doctors returned the lab oats and tried to march to the Supreme Court. However, FORDA alleges that the police stopped them from marching. President Manish told PTI that the cops had also alleged "detained" some protesting resident doctors by "force". Some of the doctors were reportedly injured.
On its Twitter handle, FORDA has been posting videos of the clashes with Delhi Police. According to reports, the protesters have accused the cops of lathi charge and abusive language.
Following the incident, the police have denied any allegations of lathicharge or use of abusive language from their end, It also confirmed that 12 protestors were detained and released later.
What did the police say
According to cops, the protesting doctors had been blocking ITO Road for over six hours, leading to repeated requests to move them to another spot. However, the protests refused to move and later, more of them poured into the area, further choking the carriageways of ITO Marg.
According to police, while the protestors were being removed from the roads, they tried to tear the uniform of the police personnel. They even broke the glasses of a police vehicle and misbehaved with the forces.
"After requesting them again to leave the road, they became aggressive and manhandled our personnel when efforts were made to detain them lawfully. Seven police personnel got injured while detaining them. They also broke the glass of police bus," a statement by Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) Rohit Meena read. A large number of protesters gathered outside Sarojini Nagar police station later in the night. However, as of now, all those detained have been released.
Call for strike
The protesting doctors have refused to call the protest until their demands are met. As the protest continued, patient care remained affected at three Centre-run facilities -- Safdarjung, RML and Lady Hardinge hospitals -- and some of the Delhi government-run hospitals.
In a statement issued later, FORDA said it was a "black day in the history of the medical fraternity".
"Resident doctors, the so-called 'Corona Warriors', protesting peacefully to expedite NEET PG Counselling 2021 were brutally thrashed, dragged and detained by the police," it alleged
"There will be a complete shutdown of all healthcare institutions from today onwards," the statement said.