Junior doctors who had gone on a strike in the Indian Sate of Uttar Pradesh have resumed work in seven medical colleges. The State Government is reported to have declared their strike illegal. Work at medical colleges at places like Allahabad, Kanpur, Meerut, Lucknow, Agra, Jhansi and Gorakhpur came to a grinding halt as a result of the strike. The strike was the offshoot of a clash between junior doctors belonging to the King George's Medical University (KGMU) and police recruits.
This was the second round of violence on the KGMU campus in a fortnight. Last week, the death of a student in a mishap sparked large-scale violence and arson at Lucknow's 100-year-old KGMU campus. The Government had on 19 January 2006 said that the striking doctors would be liable to face action under the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) if they failed to resume duty with immediate effect.
Meanwhile, K.K. Singh, an assistant professor in KGMU, believed to be the mastermind behind last week's violence and arson, was arrested bringing a sobering effect on the agitating junior doctors. At least 10 unattended patients were reported to have died during the course of the present agitation. Many other patients had to be shifted to other hospitals as senior faculty members were unable to run the wards in the absence of junior doctors.
According to police, Singh was formally arrested 19 January in connection with the first round of violence. Singh, who is with the surgery department, has a shady track record, the police said.
'Singh was suspected to have prompted some students and junior doctors to burn down the office of the deputy registrar, where a lot of evidence about his alleged misdeeds were stated to be stored,' Lucknow Senior Superintendent of Police Ashutosh Pandey said.
Singh was last year jailed for his alleged involvement in a medical examination paper leak scam, which was busted by the Central Bureau of Investigation. Reports reaching here from Agra, Allahabad, Meerut, Jhansi, Gorakhpur and Kanpur medical colleges said that most of the junior doctors had resumed work.
The UP Junior Doctors Association president Debashish Shukla formally called off the strike on 20 January and also dissolved the association. With a view to ridding the campus of 'undesirable elements', the KGMU administration has suspended teaching and ordered the students to vacate their hostels by 20 January evening.