MUMBAI: Agitating resident doctors from government hospitals of Maharashtra may return to work on Saturday morning, as the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) dissociated from them after receiving flak from both, the High Court and the State government.
In an affidavit filed before the Bombay High Court, MARD made it clear that the organisation is dissociating from the agitating doctors and won’t have any objection if action is taken against the agitating doctors.
The organisation also assured the court that the agitating doctors would return to work by 8 amon Saturday.
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis warned the striking doctors of legal action if they don’t resume duty. Making a statement in the Legislative Assembly, Fadnavis said, “Enough is enough. If people continue to suffer government will not sit quietly. We cannot leave the patients to die. I’m making a final attempt to break the deadlock on Friday by meeting the doctors' representatives. If no solution is found and doctors don’t resume work, they should be prepared to face legal action.”
Terming the attitude of doctors as “insensitive”, Fadnavis said he failed to understand the attitude of leaving patients to die.
“What is the difference between anti-social elements who beat up doctors and the doctors themselves who take oath to treat ill people and then let them suffer. I am surprised at the adamant stand of the doctors despite assuring that the government fully supports their demand,” he said, adding that the doctors have disregarded the directives of the High Court.
Fadnavis said, among the demands accepted was security audit of hospitals and access control to OPD, casualty and other wards. The demand for armed security guards has also been accepted. He also said that the government has promised free legal and medical aid to doctors if attacked and they will be treated as government servants.
The High Court also lashed out at MARD for not complying with their order of calling off the strike and warned the agitating doctors and said that punitive action could be taken against them by the government and Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC) if they don’t return to work by Saturday.
Advocate General Rohit Deo said doctors, at a meeting with the Chief Minister on Thursday, gave an assurance that they would join duty but they didn’t. The resident doctors had not gone on strike at the Dhule Hospital, where a doctor was beaten up.
Counsel for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation told the court that in four days there were 53 deaths in the KEM hospital, 48 in the Sion hospital and 34 in the Nair Hospital. Extra police and CRPF personnel were deployed at hospitals.
The court said, “We tried to help them but they don’t want our help”, and then asked the MARD to file an affidavit.
Around 4,000 members of MARD were on mass casual leave since Monday in all public hospitals in the State. In addition to that, around 40,000 members of the Indian Medical Association working in private hospitals or as general practitioners joined the protest on Wednesday evening. Doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi and other places too went on token strikes to express solidarity. However, after the Court strictures today IMA withdrew their support to the resident doctors’ agitation.
The MARD, on Thursday had assured the government and the court that the agitation would be called off. They also released a letter to that effect late in the night. However, the junior doctors did not resume their work on Friday.
Meanwhile, since Wednesday, hospital administrations has served show cause or suspension orders to more than 2,000 resident doctors.