Home guards to protect Bengaluru govt docs from attacks

The BMCRI decided to appoint home guards weeks after members of a pro-Kannada outfit allegedly heckled and assaulted a doctor at the Minto Ophthalmic Hospital on November 1.

Home guards will now watch all the five government hospitals run by the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) in the city. 

The BMCRI decided to appoint home guards weeks after members of a pro-Kannada outfit allegedly heckled and assaulted a doctor at the Minto Ophthalmic Hospital on November 1. They were seeking justice for several men and women who had lost eyesight in botched cataract surgeries earlier this year. The argument started when the group demanded that the doctor, a Malayali, speak Kannada. 

The assault had prompted doctors to boycott outpatient services and elective surgeries in BMCRI hospitals for about a week. Private hospitals joined the strike later. 

The protesting doctors demanded better security arrangements in hospitals. They called off the strike after suspects surrendered themselves before the police, and the government promised to address the doctors’ demands. 

Dr C R Jayanthi, Director-cum-Dean, BMCRI, said that for now, 31 home guards would be deployed at Victoria, Vani Vilas, Minto, Super Speciality Hospitals and the Trauma Care Center, all in the city’s Pete areas. There will be further recruitments in the coming days. “We will take a call on whether these home guards would complement the existing security personnel,” she added. 

According to Dr Jayanthi, the decision to deploy home guards was taken by the Medical Education Department. “The home guards are well-trained, carry out mock drills and handle security situations better,” she said. 

Besides home guards, each BMCRI hospital will also have a public address system (PA) and panic buttons. Doctors can communicate with their colleagues on the PA and alert security personnel in case of an attack. 

Minto Ophthalmic Hospital will get seven home guards, its director Dr Sujatha Rathod said. “At least two home guards will be at work on any given shift. CCTV cameras are also being installed,” she added.

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