100-odd intern doctors held in Lucknow
Protest against UPPGMEE Govt cites breach of peace against fasting students.
More than 100 intern doctors who were protesting in front of King George Medical University against the Uttar Pradesh Post Graduate Entrance Examination (UPPGMEE) were arrested late on Monday night.
The students — aspirants of postgraduate studies in medical science, many of whom are from medical colleges in Kanpur, Allahabad and Meerut — had boycotted emergency duties and joined the protest against the UPPGMEE, scheduled to be held on March 31. The protest had been going on for the past six days.
SP (West) Ajay Kumar said that more than 100 students had been arrested for breach of peace. "As of now, they have been kept in Lucknow Reserve Police Lines. A decision on whether they would be detained or released will be taken by the district administration," he said.
Seven of the protesting students, whose health condition had deteriorated due to the hunger strike, were admitted in Ram Manohar Lohia Combined Hospital, Lucknow, late on Sunday night. However, all seven left the hospital on Monday against medical advice, said Dr Ratish Agarwal, Chief Medical Superintendent of the hospital.
"They were admitted late last night and put on saline. However, they left the hospital against medical advice. They were in stable condition when they left. The police have been informed," said Dr Agarwal.
The protesting students have, in their latest memorandum to the government, said that if the government is not ready to cancel the examination, they can at least postpone it till the Supreme Court gives its final orders on National Entrance cum Eligibility Test (NEET).
The students have been demanding cancellation of UPPGMEE and admission in postgraduate seats of state medical colleges through NEET, which was held in November-December 2012 at all-India level. The state had declared UPPGMEE as per the directions of the Supreme Court, which is hearing a case regarding NEET. The apex court has withheld the results of NEET and asked the states to continue with the procedure of postgraduate admission but hold the results till the court's final decision.
The students had met Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday, who had asked the students to give their detailed memorandum to the District Magistrate of Lucknow. "We submitted our memorandum on Sunday evening and said we will end our hunger strike if the government at least postpones the examination till the Supreme Court gives its final verdict on NEET," said Mohit Singh, one of the students who met the CM. However, the government, though requesting the students to end the strike, is yet to decide on the matter.
The Uttar Pradesh chapter of the Indian Medical Association and Uttar Pradesh Provincial Medical Services Association have extended moral support to the protesting students.
Emergency services at various hospitals were reportedly seriously hampered due to the interns' absence. "The OPD was boycotted today and emergency services were closed in the evening," said Vineet Singh, an intern doctor from Moti Lal Nehru Medical College, Allahabad.
The government maintained that there was no state-wide protest of doctors and emergency services were not affected. "Although some interns boycotted work for a few hours, we have yet not received any news from medical colleges regarding mass boycott," said K K Gupta, Director General, Medical Education, Uttar Pradesh.