Assam doctors are on strike in protest against a deadly assault on an elderly doctor.
The state’s chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) called for a statewide stir following the event, wherein Dr Deven Dhutta lost his life after being attacked by a mob at the Teok Tea Estate in the Jorhat district. A worker on the plantation died in the afternoon whilst Dr Dhutta was on lunch; upon his return, he was reportedly beaten and locked in a room, dying later on at a government hospital where he was being treated for his injuries. At the time of writing, 26 people have been detained in connection with the assault.
Doctors are striking for 24 hours as of 6 a.m. this morning in protest of what they see as inadequate steps taken to ensure their safety at work. Emergency services will not be affected by the agitation, however. Ahead of the statewide strike, doctors in the Jorhat district withdrew non-emergency services yesterday.
The murder of Dr Dhutta is part of a pattern of violence in India’s healthcare facilities, where workers including doctors and nurses regularly face harassment and abuse from patients and patients’ families. According to the IMA, as many as 75 percent of doctors in India have faced some degree of violence whilst on the job. Meanwhile, the striking doctors in Assam have won solidarity from other members of the medical fraternity in India who have vociferously criticised the fatal attack on Dr Dhutta.
“Dr Dutta was a 75-year-old physician who had involved himself in the service of his community even after retirement! The people he served thanked him by murdering him,” said a statement issued by the West Bengal Doctors’ Forum. “It took paramilitary forces to evacuate an injured man… such is the strength of the mob in India. Such is the nature of gratitude and natural justice in India. Such is the state of security for medical practitioners in India. In glorious India, the mobs remain our future patients.”