Fadnavis requests doctors to withdraw strike, says will ensure proper security

Doctors have been protesting against a recent flurry of attacks on their colleagues across the state

The high court in Mumbai on Thursday ordered doctors in Maharashtra state to resume work immediately and asked the government to ensure their security, as pregnant women and kidney dialysis patients were turned away from hospitals and surgeries postponed.

In Maharashtra 44,000 protesting doctors have refused to call off the strike despite an assurance from Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, that armed policemen will be stationed in sensitive hospitals.

A fresh attack against a resident doctor took place on Wednesday night by a patient's relatives at Sion Hospital.

Firstpost correspondent spoke to State Medical Education Minister Girish Mahajan, who said that the Maharashtra government has promised to promptly fill up the existing 1100 vacancies in security forces.

The government, in a stern warning to the protesting doctors, said that if they fail to resume work by 8pm today, they will not be paid salary for the next six months.

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The court has specifically said that the hospital management is free to initiate action and contempt proceedings against the doctors on strike.

This protest comes in the wake of attack on one of the doctors by a patient's relatives earlier on Saturday. "Every emergency can wait, but not a medical emergency", the court said. "The remaining 600 will be deployed at hospitals across the state by 30 April", he said. Doctors in Delhi made a decision to go on strike on Thursday in solidarity.

Bombay High Court chief justice Manjula Chellur had on Tuesday said: 'If you (doctors) do not want to work, then resign. The doctors, who had gone on mass casual leave since Sunday, demanding proper security, are yet to join work.

The fact that millions of patients across Maharashtra are suffering as the strike by junior doctors entered its fourth day on 23 March is the wretched eventuality that was bound to rise from the horrific assault on a doctor at Dhule Civil Hospital. "You (doctors) resume work and see if everything is done as assured by the government. Hence, the IMA has chose to extend its support to the resident doctors and go on the indefinite strike", said Dr Sagar Mundada, the chairman of IMA's youth wing.

As a part of the protest, some of the resident doctors have availed leave, while the others are not reporting to duty. "Patients and relatives are taking the law into their own hands, which is not acceptable", said Dr Ashwani Goyal, DMA state secretary.

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