Bihar Doctors Go on a Day's Strike to Protest Lynching

Patna, May 31 (IANS): All the government doctors in Bihar are observing a day-long token strike Tuesday to protest the death of a doctor who was lynched by prisoners inside the Gopalganj jail.

Buddhadev Singh was beaten to death Sunday afternoon by some jail inmates in Gopalganj, some 125 km from Patna, when he went inside a ward to conduct a medical check-up of a prisoner serving a sentence in a kidnapping case.

The government doctors were asked by the Bihar State Health Services Association (BSHSA) to boycott their work for 24 hours from 6 a.m. on May 31 to 6 a.m. on June 1.

Ajay Kumar, general secretary of the BSHSA said, "We have no option but to protest. The BSHSA will review the situation on June 5 to take final decision on whether to launch an indefinite strike or not."

Doctors in Gopalganj went on an indefinite strike Monday afternoon and demanded foolproof security for them in view of the incident.

On the other hand, the Bihar chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has demanded compensation of Rs.2 crore for the family of the doctor and punishment for the accused. The IMA has given a week's ultimatum to the state government to meet its demands, including immediate introduction in the state assembly of a legislation to protect medical professionals from assaults and attacks.

Both the IMA and the BSHSA have been demanding introduction of Medical Professional Protection Act for the safety and security of doctors in the state.

A case was lodged Monday against seven inmates of the Gopalganj district jail for beating the doctor to death inside the prison premises, police said. The state government has ordered a probe into Sunday's ghastly incident but the doctor's family wants a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry.

According to a police officer, the prisoners wanted the doctor to issue them a certificate that they were ill and needed to be shifted out of the jail. But Singh refused, after which he was thrashed.

Gopalganj Jail Superintendent Ashok Kumar was unable to explain why did security officials not intervene to save the doctor when he was assaulted.

Gopalganj Superintendent of Police K.S. Anupam Monday said, "Police will not spare the accused in the case".

The opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) also hit out at the Nitish Kumar government Monday.


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