Pune doctors stop work for 11 hrs
Something as trivial as a resident doctor at the staterun Sassoon General Hospital brushing against a constable's shoulder outside a ward triggered a violent reaction that started with hot words and descended into the medico being thrashed by the policeman on Wednesday .
The fight took place around 8.20pm on Wednesday when resident doctor Karma Zumba Bhutia from Sikkim, who is pursuing an MS (orthopaedics), was on emergency duty at the hospital attached to BJ Medical College.
Angry medicos, who are postgraduate students, went on a strike on Thursday around 10am to protest against their colleague being beaten up.
Medical services, including surgical procedures, were affected throughout the day till the students called of the protest at 9pm and resumed work after assurances from police commissioner K K Pathak to the hospital's dean Ajay Chandanwale that they would probe the incident.
“We met the police commissioner on Thursday evening and he told us that our students will not be falsely implicated and appropriate inquiry will be conducted in this case,“ Chandanwale said. Students had decided they would not call off the strike until charges against three of their colleagues were withdrawn.
Constable Shrikrishna Khokale's was suspended for dereliction of duty and was booked under sections 324 (voluntarily causing hurt), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Indian Penal Code and the relevant sections of the Doctors' Protection Act.
“The police constable, who thrashed the doctor, has filed a first information report (FIR) against three of our colleagues who were witnesses. Police declared them absconding and booked them under section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Indian Penal Code. All the three are on campus. They are being implicated when they have done nothing. The strike will continue till the charges against them are not withdrawn. Resident doctors from other state run medical colleges in the state will also join the strike,“ Dnyaneshwar Halnawat, secretary Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), said.
Bhutia was at the medicine ward number 14 on the second floor, Halnawat said.“He was in a hurry as he had to attend to an emergency care patient admitted in ward number three on the ground floor. He accidently brushed against Khokale's shoulder. Bhutia apologised, but the constable first slapped him.When a security guard rushed to his help, Khokale snatched the cane from the guard's hand and hit him on his head,“ Halnawat said.
A students' delegation met Pathak on Thursday . “He has assured us of all help. Higher authorities are cooperating with us, but we fear that our colleagues may unnecessarily be dragged into the matter though they have not committed any wrong. The police constable was in uniform. A doctor cannot beat up a policeman and tear his uniform as Khokale has alleged.We gathered at the spot soon after the incident and saw that his uniform was intact and he did not have a scratch on his body during medical examination. But he filed a complaint saying that we beat him up and tore up his uniform,“ Halnawat said.
Bhutia has sustained grievous head injury in the assault. “We conducted a CT scan which shows that Bhutia has developed cerebral oedema (swelling of the brain) as he was hit hard on the head.Besides, he has sustained blunt trauma on the left side of his head and a contusion over the left arm. He is undergoing treatment at the hospital under the supervision of a neurosurgeon,“ said Chandanwale, who is also the spine surgeon.
“Protesting students finished their medical care related work and then they went on strike. They could have gone on strike soon after the incident, but they did not do that. They worked all through the night and helped all scheduled morning surgeries,“ the dean added.
Of the 425 postgraduate students, 321joined the strike.“Barring emergency services, medical care in other departments took a beating.Surgical work drastically came down after 10am,“ said a nurse who did not wish to be named.