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Six hosps, including GTB, may go on strike over clash between lawyers and doctors

New Delhi: Doctors of six major East Delhi government hospitals are set to go on strike on February 24, following what they call "inaction and unfair investigation" into a violent clash between doctors and lawyers at Dr Hedgewar Arogya Sansthan last week.

On the evening of February 16, four doctors were severely injured when the medical staff of Dr Hedgewar Arogya Sansthan hospital got involved in an argument with lawyers from the nearby Karkardooma court over a parking issue, which soon turned violent. One senior resident of the hospital, who had sustained a severe head injury, is still medically unfit.

RDA representatives from Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital, Swami Dayanand Hospital, Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital, Delhi Medical Association, and the Indian Medical Association met on Monday at Dr Hedgewar Arogya Sansthan.

After the meeting, it was decided that if satisfactory action is not taken by the administration or authorities in-charge, OPD services and Operation Theatres in six hospitals will be closed this Wednesday and only emergency services will remain open. This includes GTB, Hedgewar, Deen Dayal Upadhyay and Lal Bahadur Shastri hospitals.

President of Dr Hedgewar Arogya Sansthan's Resident Doctors' Association, Dr Komal Sharma said: "We will wait for 48 hours for our FIR to be recognised. As yet, Delhi Medicare Service Personnel and Medicare Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage to Property) Act, 2008 has not been added to our FIR, which grants healthcare workers protection against violence. Instead, we have been charged under IPC Section 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 334 (voluntarily causing hurt on grave/sudden provocation)". RDA members also want IPC Section 308 (acting with intent to cause death) to be added to their

FIR.

Doctors of Dr Hedgewar Arogya Sansthan had lodged an institutional FIR following the incident. "A district judge has now directed the police to take action against the doctors in this matter", Dr Sharma said.

"If authorities/administration still do not take definitive action within another 48 hours, then all (government) hospitals in Delhi including AIIMS and Safdarjung will go on strike, including shutting down emergency services," Dr Sharma added.

Till now, FORDA and RDAs of Ram Manohar Lohia, Guru Tegh Bahadur, Swami Dayanand, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Deen Dayal Upadhayay, Hindu Rao, and Dr. Bheem Rao Ambedkar hospitals have extended their support.

Members of the hospital's RDA have said they want to avoid a strike because they don't want patients to suffer but "cannot work in an atmosphere of fear and pressure".

When asked about videos on Twitter showing doctors hitting lawyers, Dr Sharma claimed lawyers were putting selective videos and that they have the full CCTV footage. Police have registered cross complaints in the incident.

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