Doctors warn Karnataka govt of OPD suspension

 Medical students of Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute staged a protest on Wednesday at the Victoria Hospital premises condemning the attack on doctors. (DH Photo: Manjunath)

Private hospitals could suspend outpatient departments and non-emergency services on Friday, if the government does not look into the demands of the protesting PG students at the Bangalore Medical College and Research Centre (BMCRI).

The protest at BMCRI has entered the fourth day, where PG students have stopped work, seeking better security measures at the hospital.

Doctors working in various government and private hospitals are wearing a black badge to work as a mark of protest. This is against the recent attack on a junior doctor at the Minto Ophthalmic Hospital.

On Tuesday, the Indian Medical Association called on hospitals under its umbrella to continue the protest for the next two days. While the protest will be symbolic on Wednesday and Thursday, the IMA has issued an ultimatum to the government, saying hospitals would withdraw all non-essential services if authorities failed to arrest the pro-Kannada organisation members involved in the assault incident at the Minto hospital.

Dr Srinivasa S, secretary, IMA, Karnataka branch, said the protest will continue until justice is done. The IMA has sought the arrest of members of the pro-Kannada organisation who barged into the hospital and had an argument with one of the PG students over her response in English.

Meanwhile, hundreds of students gathered before the outpatient department block at the Victoria Hospital premises seeking justice. Protests erupted after activists gheraoed a PG student at Minto Ophthalmic Hospital for not speaking in Kannada as they argued over compensation for those blinded during a cataract camp.

Scribe moves HC against agitation

In a further twist to the ongoing doctors’ strike, a journalist has moved the High Court of Karnataka to force them to call off the strike.

Filing the PIL, K H Deviprasad Rai, a freelance journalist, noted that hundreds of patients are suffering as a result of the strike for the past several days and it would cause irreparable injuries to the patients.

He said the doctors should be forced to call off their strike under the Essential Services Maintenance Act (Esma), 1968, and those persisting with the strike must be arrested under the Karnataka State Civil Services (Prevention of Strikes) Act, 1966. The matter is likely to be listed for hearing on Friday.

Call off stir: police chief

Promising to take criminal action against activists who misbehaved with the junior doctor, City Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao on Wednesday urged the medics to call off their protest.

Addressing the doctors at the Minto Hospital, Rao said the police have filed an FIR against those who misbehaved with the doctor. “I have instructed the investigation officer to probe the matter in detail and initiate legal action against the accused who misbehaved,” he said.

Rao said if the doctors persist with the strike, the general public will be affected. But the junior doctors paid no heed to the police chief and continued their protest, demanding the immediate arrest of the activists.

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