Resident doctors face off against Delhi cops over NEET PG counselling: What happened and why are over 4,000 of them agitating

Monday night saw protests descending into chaos and violence when a large number of resident doctors faced off with police personnel on the ...

Monday night saw protests descending into chaos and violence when a large number of resident doctors faced off with police personnel on the streets from Maulana Azad Medical College to the Supreme Court in the national capital.

So, what happened and why are these doctors protesting? We give you the answers.

What happened on Monday?

Resident doctors in Delhi, led by the Federation of Resident Doctors' Association (FORDA), have been agitating over the delay in NEET-PG 2021 counselling.

Unhappy that their demands haven't been heard, they decided to march from Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC) to Supreme Court.

FORDA said 4,000 of its members ended a sit-in at the Sarojini Nagar police station around midnight on Monday to adhere to the coronavirus night curfew.

FORDA president Manish said, "We also tried to march from the campus of the Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC) to Supreme Court, but soon after we had started it, security personnel did not allow us to proceed."

Manish alleged that several doctors were then 'detained' by police force, and taken to police station premises, before being released after some time. He also alleged that 'police force was used and many doctors were injured' during their dramatic face-off.

In a statement issued later, FORDA said it was a "black day in the history of the medical fraternity".

"Resident doctors, the so-called 'Corona Warriors', protesting peacefully to expedite NEET PG Counselling 2021 were brutally thrashed, dragged and detained by the police," it alleged.

"There will be complete shutdown of all ,healthcare institutions from today onwards," the statement said.

However, police denied allegations of lathicharge or use of abusive language from their end, and said, 12 protesters were detained and released later.

Doctors stage a protest outside Maulana Azad Medical College over postponement of National Eligibility Entrance Test postgraduate (NEET PG) counselling 2021. PTI

In an official statement issued later, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) Rohit Meena said a group of resident doctors "without having any authorised permission" blocked the BSZ Marg, main road between ITO and Delhi gate, and jammed the traffic for more than six hours".

"They deliberately created nuisance on the main road and blocked both carriageways, causing hardship and harassment to commuters and general public," he claimed in the statement.

Subsequently, they were "addressed by DG Health" who gave them the assurance of fulfilling their demands, the senior police officer was quoted as saying in the statement.

However, they became "aggressive and even after pacifying them, they blocked the road", he claimed.

"After requesting them again to leave the road, they became aggressive and manhandled our personnel when efforts were made to detain them lawfully. Seven police personnel got injured while detaining them. They also broke the glass of police bus," he alleged.

An FIR has been registered under relevant sections of Indian Penal Code for Covid violations, rioting and damage to public property among others, police said.

Why are the resident doctors protesting?

The resident doctors have been protesting against repeated delays in NEET PG counselling.

The delays in counselling have been due to a clutch of cases pending in the Supreme Court over the recently introduced quota for the economically weaker sections.

According to an NDTV report, the resident doctors allege that they are being overworked and "operating at 66 percent capacity" and have been demanding the urgent recruitment of new doctors, which has been on hold for over a year because of the case being heard in the Supreme Court.

The resident doctors have been striking, disrupting medical services across the country.

On 6 December, a FORDA delegation met Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.

The health minister had taken note of doctors’ grievances and assured an early hearing of the Supreme Court case.

The Indian Medical Association then wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 December to resolve the NEET-PG counselling crisis.

On 27 December, the resident doctors of a large number of major hospitals "returned their apron (lab coat) in a symbolic gesture of rejection of services".

On 26 December, the doctors also symbolically returned the candles and flowers showered on them to commemorate their contribution during the pandemic.

What do leaders have to say?

Senior Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra shared video clip of the face-off between the doctors and police personnel, and extended support to protesting resident doctors.

With inputs from agencies

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