Doctors in Assam on Sunday, 1 September, called for a 24-hour ‘withdrawal of medical services excluding emergency’ across the state on 3 September in protest against the killing of an elderly doctor by associates of a patient who died at a tea garden hospital in Jorhat.
Doctors will withdraw their services from 6 am but the emergency in all hospitals will remain open, President of the Assam State Branch of the Indian Medical Association, Dr Satyajit Borah said.
The Teok Tea estate doctor, 73-year-old Dr Deben Dutta was assaulted on Saturday by garden workers following the death of a person in the estate hospital.
Dutta later died at the Jorhat Medical College Hospital.
Borah said the assault on Dutta is the third major incident of physical attack on doctors serving in tea gardens and the number of such incidents is increasing.
“As a mark of protest against these incidents and failure of the government to provide security to the doctors and convict the culprits, doctors have decided to withdraw services for 24 hours,” he said.
The IMA demanded that the government ensures exemplary punishment of the culprits and beef up security measures such as installation of surveillance cameras in all health establishments including those in tea gardens.
“We hope that the doctor fraternity is not compelled to take more severe steps,” Borah said.
Meanwhile, Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has condemned the incident, describing it as ‘unfortunate’.
“We will not tolerate anybody taking the law into their hands and the district administration has been directed to take immediate action against the culprits,” the minister said on his twitter handle.
The Jorhat Deputy Commissioner Roshni Aparanji Korati has already ordered a magisterial enquiry into the incident and Additional Deputy Commissioner Subhan Gowala has been asked to submit the report in seven days.
The Assam Valley Consultative Committee of Plantations Associations and Tea Association of India have also condemned the killing of the doctor.