IMA threatens to launch countrywide ceasework

Assam Medical College & Hospital Teachers Association and the Assam wing of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) take out a candle protest rally against the alleged assault on a senior doctor Deben Dutta (73), in Dibrugarh. PTI photo

The Indian Medical Association on Wednesday threatened to launch a countrywide indefinite cease work by doctors if the Centre immediately failed to enact a law to check violence against health professionals, IMA president Dr Santanu Sen said.

The IMA also demanded Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to come out with a statement within 24 hours on the deadly assault of a doctor at a tea garden, who had succumbed to his injuries at a hospital, after being assaulted by relatives of a tea garden worker.

The IMA president was speaking to reporters here after visiting the family of the doctor, Dr Deben Dutta, here on Wednesday. He was also accompanied by some IMA members.

"Doctors continue to be attacked...enough is enough. We have reached the endpoint, we are not going to let this go. If a Central act is not enacted and the chief minister's statement does not come within 24 hours, then the government and the entire country have to remain prepared for the consequences", he said. The IMA chief said that the association has written to the prime minister, the home minister, the health minister and the chief minister underlining the urgent need to enact a Central law to check violence against health professionals.

"In Parliament, I had raised the demand for a Central act. If the government does not take any positive step, then doctors of the entire country will go for an indefinite cease work and the Central government will have to remain prepared for the consequences", the IMA chief said. Mentioning that the state government, the chief minister or the health minister had not issued any statement after the incident, Sen said, "If the chief minister does not come out with a statement, all the doctors in Assam will go for ceasing work indefinitely, including emergency service."

The 24-hour strike by the medical fraternity in Assam on Tuesday was "very successful", he said.

Emergency services, however, were kept out of the purview of Tuesday's stir.

The IMA chief said, another demand of the IMA was that the culprits must not be released on bail. "As seen on many occasions, such people are released on bail after the situation calms down. None can be released and they be given the severest punishmen," he said.

Jorhat Deputy Commissioner Roshni Aparanji Korati had ordered a magisterial inquiry by Additional Deputy Commissioner Subhan Gowala into the incident and had asked the ADC to submit his report within seven days. Pointing out that doctors would not be willing to work in tea estates if they were not given adequate protection, he said, "If no doctor serves in tea garden areas, then the government has to think what has to be done for the tea garden labourers." Doctors in Assam have been demanding safety of health professionals and proper implementation of the Assam Medicare Service Persons and Medicare Service Institutions (Protection of Violence and Damage to Property) Act in the state.

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