The junior doctors protesting in Delhi over the delay in college allotments of postgraduate medical students have been told that they cannot continue in view of the Yellow Alert declared yesterday. The doctors now demand that the Delhi Police apologise in writing over the face-off on Sunday and that their strike is “still on”. A final call will be taken at a meeting that’s in progress now, the Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association or FORDA has said.
“We have told the doctors that they cannot continue the strike. Yellow alert has been issued regarding Covid in Delhi and under the DDMA Act, crowds are not allowed,” said senior Delhi Police officer BS Yadav.
“We have requested the doctors to end the strike due to Corona,” he added.
Admitting that the police have contacted them over the Yellow Alert, Dr Manish, the chief of FORDA, told NDTV, “Our strike is still on. We are demanding that Delhi Police apologise to us in writing. We will meet this afternoon to decide whether to continue the strike or to end it,” he added.
The junior doctors contend that their protest is being held in view of the Covid-induced havoc on the healthcare system. At such a time, they need all hands on deck and the legal deadlock is preventing thousands of young, qualified doctors from joining the workforce.
The junior doctors — who form the backbone of the medical system — have threatened a complete shutdown of medical services if fresh hands are not brought in.
The government contends that resolving the matter is not possible for them since the court is yet to give its judgment.
The admissions process and the allocation of colleges for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, or NEET, undergraduate and postgraduate students have been caught in the legal deadlock as the Supreme Court is looking into the matter of quota for Economically Weaker Sections.
The next hearing is on January 6, when the government is expected to present its views on the criteria for judging Economically Weaker Sections for NEET.
The doctors have accused the government of dragging its feet over the EWS issue, saying it is having serious ramification for the country’s hospitals.
They say they have been receiving assurances from the government since November and now, with the looming threat of the highly contagious Omicron strain of Covid, they have run out of time.