Assam Doctor’s Assault: Indian Medical Association Threatens Countrywide Strike
Doctors talk to patients as they look at their medical records at the Acharya Tulsi Regional Cancer Treatment & Research Institute in Bikaner, Rajasthan, India (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)  

Assam Doctor’s Assault: Indian Medical Association Threatens Countrywide Strike

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The national organisation of medicos on Wednesday condemned the brutal assault of Assam tea garden doctor Deben Dutta that led to his death and threatened country-wide indefinite cease work if the Centre failed to enact a law to check violence against medical practitioners immediately.

It also demanded that Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal come out with a statement on the incident that took place on Saturday last week within 24 hours or doctors will launch an indefinite cease work in the state, Indian Medical Association president Sanatanu Sen said.

Sen, who is also Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP, along with some members of the Indian Medical Association visited the family of Dutta, a septuagenarian retired medico who was fatally assaulted by relatives of a tea garden worker on Saturday and died in a hospital.

The doctor used to provide free treatment to the tea workers.

“We (IMA) have written letters to the prime minister, the union home minister, the union health minister and Assam chief minister demanding an immediate central act to end this violence on medical practitioners,” Sen told waiting newsmen.

“I had raised the demand for a central act in Parliament, too. If the government does not take any positive step then doctors of the entire country will go for an indefinite cease work. The government of India will have to remain prepared for the consequences,” he said.

Stating that no statement on the gruesome incident was made by the Assam government, the chief minister or the health minister though five days had passed since it took place, Sen said the IMA demands that Sonowal must come out with a statement within 24 hours.

In case the chief minister does not, doctors in the state will launch an indefinite cease work, including in the emergency services.

“Doctors continue to be attacked ... Enough is enough. We have reached the end point and we cannot let this go. If a central act is not brought and the chief minister's statement does not come within 24 hours then the government and entire country has to remain prepared for the consequences”, he asserted.

The IMA also demanded that the culprits should not be released on bail as in other cases and must be given the “severest punishment”, he said.

The case should be taken away immediately from the additional deputy commissioner Shubam Gowala, who has been entrusted with the magisterial inquiry into the killing as the doctor's family apprehended that he may manipulate it, Sen said.

Jorhat deputy commissioner had ordered the magisterial probe into the murderous assault on the doctor by irate garden workers following the death of a person in the estate hospital.

The report was sought within seven days.

Sen said the labourers for whom the septuagenarian doctor gave his entire life had killed him. “Now doctors will not want to go to the tea estates. If doctors are not protected what service will they give?”

“If no doctor serves in the tea garden areas, then the government has to think what has to be done for the tea garden labourers. Politicians think tea garden labourers are their vote banks,” he said.

He claimed that the 24-hour strike by doctors in Assam was “very successful”.

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

Doctors in Assam have been demanding for safety of doctors and proper implementation of the Assam Medicare Service Persons and Medicare Service Institutions (Protection of Violence and Damage to Property) Act in the state.

Also read: Draft Bill Proposing 10-Year Jail For Hurting Doctors On Duty Finalised , Says Health Minister

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