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Dengue death: Government doctors in Maharashtra threaten indefinite stir

Resident doctors in Maharashtra on Saturday threatened to go on an indefinite state-wide strike from Sunday evening to press for their safety demand after three of their colleagues were allegedly assaulted by relatives of a minor boy who died of dengue.

The decision was taken after a meeting today between the members of Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) and Medical Education Minister Vinod Tawde failed to yield any positive result.

“We want to know why all accused who attacked our colleagues are not in jail? Why police did not book them under the IPC Section 326 (which is non-bailable offence). Why two accused are still absconding?” said Sagar Mundada, MARD President. Two persons were arrested on Friday in connection with the incident, but they were later granted bail.

“We discussed various issues with the Minister and gave him one month’s time to resolve them. But on this issue (attack) we want immediate action. Doctors must be provided adequate safety and security. Mere assurance would not do,” said Mundada.

MARD has over 4,500 doctors as its members across the state, and a strike by them would badly affect medical services in the state-run hospitals. “All resident doctors have decided to stop work from 8 PM tomorrow after Ganapati Visarjan is over,” he said.

Resident doctors of KEM Hospital are already on strike since yesterday morning and other MARD members would join them as a mark of solidarity. The KEM doctors are demanding substantial increase in number of CCTV cameras installed in the hospital and deployment of more security guards.

They have demanded at least 145 CCTV cameras (only 10 are operational now) and an additional 200 security personnel (current strength 168). Meanwhile, to maintain medical services in the KEM Hospital, the administration has roped in senior doctors, lecturers, professors and assistant professors.

The doctors of state-run King Edward Memorial (KEM) hospital were said to be beaten after they had allegedly failed to admit the boy suffering from dengue into the ICU ward on account of non-availability of beds.

The boy, aged around 10, was later admitted to the general ward on Thursday night, but died around 1.30 AM after which his infuriated relatives allegedly roughed up the three doctors with rods and abused them. All the three injured doctors have been hospitalised.