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Striking doctors attend to patients

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
May 15, 2006 22:23 IST
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Striking doctors of Lok Nayak Jai Prakash hospital could be seen attending to hundreds of patients from the makeshift OPD set up under tents pitched in front of JP hospital and attending to their problems on Monday.

This was a major shift from the earlier stand taken by junior and senior doctors who had decided to go on a day-long strike to protest against the government's pro-reservation policies and also police brutalities on their colleagues in Delhi, Mumbai and other places in the country while they were protesting against the government's decision to have 50 per cent reservations for OBCs and the SC and ST categories in addition to the government quota and the quota for the ex-servicemen.

Dr Jatinder Singh, senior resident doctor, told that they had to change their plan because the media had projected them in bad light.

"We have come out in support of our juniors because the policy of reservation is wrong. This is not an issue of medical students alone. It is a national cause. We are not against upliftment of the weaker sections, but then there has to be some system. Why can't you make economically backward as the criterion for reservation?" he asked.

While the doctors claimed that everything was right and they were attending to patients, B B Chobe, who had come to get his leg examined from Noida was not happy with the kind of attention that was given to him. "They had a look at my leg and told me that it needs immediate operation. If I can afford another hospital, then I should go there," he said.

But the scene at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, where all the junior doctors from five medical hospitals of the capital, were sitting on a hunger strike was different. Slogans of 'Arjun Singh hai hai' rent the air as groups of doctors kept on pouring in to lend their support.

Dr Vishal Sharma of the University College of Medical Sciences is one of the 15-member core group of junior doctors who are spearheading the movement against reservation under the banner Youth for Equality.

"We are getting support from all the sections of people. It is not just about reservation. We have to fight against this first at undergraduate level, then at the senior level and then internships, seniority and promotions," he said.

What angers them more than anything else is that one person from a backward community can benefit from the reservation policy thoughout his life.

Dr K K Bora, who had his left leg under plaster and had come to All India Institute of Medical Sciences for treatment, said, "I came for physiotherapy and since the department was not on strike, I will get my regular treatment. Despite the fact that I am a patient-cum-doctor right now, I fully support the anti-reservation policy," he said.

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi