Guwahati: In a development reminiscent of the West Bengal standoff between the medical establishment and state government in June, doctors in Assam are observing a 24-hour withdrawal of non-emergency medical services across the state to protest against the assault on an elderly doctor at a tea garden that led to his death, officials said.
73-year-old Dr Deben Dutta had succumbed to his injuries after being assaulted by relatives of a tea garden worker who died while undergoing treatment at a hospital at Teok Tea Estate in Jorhat district on Saturday.
Responding to a call by the Assam unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), doctors at government and private hospitals as well as consultation chambers are staying away from work from 6 AM. However, they are attending emergency services. The doctors, including junior medical practitioners, in six government medical college hospitals and civil hospitals, family referral units and primary health centres are providing services only at emergency and casualty departments, state health officials said.
The IMA demanded that the government ensures exemplary punishment of the culprits and tighten security measures including installing surveillance cameras in all health establishments including those in tea gardens. In Jorhat town, doctors, pharmacists and para-medical persons held a dharna (sit-in) in front of the deputy commissioner’s office demanding justice for 73-year-old Dr Deben Dutta who was assaulted by a mob on Saturday following the death of a patient in a tea estate hospital. Dutta later died at the JMCH.
The agitating doctors submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioners across the state demanding a law to ensure the security of the medical practitioners. A total of 26 people have been taken into custody from Teok tea estate. Inspector-general of police Deepak Kedia had visited the tea estate to take stock of the situation.
Jorhat deputy commissioner Roshni Aparanji Korati had ordered a magisterial inquiry into the assault of Dutta, who was working in the tea garden hospital after his retirement without remuneration.