Bhubaneswar, Nov. 3: As many as 2,470 doctors in Orissa submitted resignation letters to the state government today to protest the dismissal of three colleagues for chopping off the palms of five tribals killed in the Kalinga Nagar police firing.
The protesting doctors, members of the Orissa Medical Service Association (OMSA), have threatened to cease work from November 9.
Tribals of the Kalinga Nagar industrial complex were handed the five bodies with the palms chopped off on January 4, 2006, two days after police opened fire on a large gathering protesting against land acquisition for a Tata steel plant.
Pressure from rights groups had prompted the government to suspend Bibekananda Swain, Shantanu Kumar Sahu and Anup Kumar Nathsharma. They were dismissed on October 24 this year following a report by the Orissa Human Rights Commission.
The doctors had said they cut off the palms during post-mortem to take fingerprints, a mandatory practice in cases of unidentified corpses, and that the directive had come from the administration and the police.
The OMSA today said health professionals in the state were under severe stress. This time, we have decided not to budge from our stand. We want dignity for the profession. The state government has so far taken for us granted, its president Madhusudhan Mishra said.
We have submitted the resignation in advance and will cease work from November 9 if our demand (that the doctors be re-instated) is not met, he added.
Its an unfortunate decision. The rules say the palms have to be chopped off for fingerprinting if the deceased is unidentified. The doctors who conducted the post-mortem merely went by the rulebook, said Mishra.
The government is targeting the doctors while the people who actually killed the tribals have gone scot-free.