VIJAYAWADA: The ongoing protests against the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill intensified in the state with a protesting medico being slapped and scores of his colleagues taken into custody by the police in Vijayawada city on Thursday afternoon. The protests spilled over to other parts of the state and in Tirupati, the medicos stopped buses plying to the famous hill shrine of Tirumala while in Visakhapatnam a massive rally was taken out protesting the alleged highhandedness of the police against the medicos.
It all started with a group of junior doctors, who are protesting under the banner of AP Junior Doctors Association (JUDA), staging a demonstration in front of the NTR Health University overlooking the National Highway 16 near Gunadala in Vijayawada. The JUDAs came on to the highway and stopped the movement of traffic on the busy highway.
Police rushed to the place and tried to convince the medicos to shift their protest to the service road so that the vehicular movement on the busy highway connecting Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam does not get disrupted. The JUDAs, however, did not budge and continue to protest on the NH. At this juncture, Vijayawada city Deputy Commissioner of Police (law and order) V Harshavardhan Raju reached the place and asked the medicos to put an end to their protest as it was hampering traffic.
An argument broke out between the police and medicos and in the melee, the DCP pulled one of the medicos by his collar and slapped him. The police later took around 25 junior doctors into preventive custody and shifted them to various police stations in the city.
As the news and the videos of the 'friendly' police slapping the medico went viral, medicos across the state including Visakhapatnam and Tirupati intensified their protest. Demanding an apology from the Vijayawada DCP for slapping a medico, the junior doctors in Tirupati staged a sit-in near Alipiri and did not allow buses to ply to the hill shrine of Tirumala. They even blocked the buses coming from Tirumala to Tirupati but were forced to retreat as the pilgrims picked an argument over stopping the vehicles as it would create problems for them to reach bus and railway stations in time to go back to their respective destinations.
With this, the medicos shifted their protest to the Alipiri ghat road leading to Tirumala. According to reports reaching here, additional forces were rushed to Alipiri to clear the protesting medicos.
Meanwhile, AP State Director General of Police Goutam Sawang reportedly took a serious view of the police officer's action and asked the Vijayawada City Police commissioner Dwaraka Tirumala Rao to submit a report on the incident.