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AMCH principal suspended, students on strike

May 12: Dispur today suspended Athindra Kumar Adhikari, the principal of Assam Medical College and Hospital. Narayan Upadhaya will discharge duties as acting principal.

Nearly 450 junior doctors and 600 undergraduate medical students at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital have gone on an indefinite strike from today, as they have not received any assurance regarding the fulfilment of their demands for security.

Health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had visited the hospital yesterday and assured the students that their demands would be fulfilled.

Although junior doctors will not attend calls in the outpatient departments and wards, they will continue to attend to patients in the emergency department. The undergraduate students will not attend regular classes during the strike.

The doctors are demanding security personnel in the hospital after the murder of post-graduate medical student Sarita Toshniwal by ward boy Kero Mech at Assam Medical College and Hospital in Dibrugarh last week.

“We met the additional senior superintendent of police regarding our demand. Though he said security would be provided, he could not assure us when,” said Hridoy Haloi, the president of the GMCH Junior Doctors’ Association.

“The SSP could not give us any assurance. Hence, we will go on an indefinite strike,” said a junior doctor of the college.

“The undergraduate medical students live in hostels at the foothills and on the Narakashur Hill. The ways to these hostels are very unsafe. Security should also be provided to them,” said Haloi.

However, the GMCH authorities said Dispur had assured them of providing armed guards and metal detectors at sensitive places in the hospital like emergency wards and labour rooms to prevent attacks on medical staff.

The strike by students and junior doctors continued for the fourth day today, paralysing the functioning of AMCH. “My brother is admitted to the AMCH for a couple of days now, but the doctors are not attending to him properly. We are poor people and cannot afford treatment in private hospitals. What will happen if the strike continues?” asked R. Das, an attendant.

“We need proper security and CCTVs should be installed on campus as many goons roam about freely,” said a protester.

The Marwari Juva Manch today took out a rally in Dhubri, protesting against the murder.It submitted a memorandum to the Dhubri deputy commissioner, addressed to chief minister Tarun Gogoi, demanding exemplary punishment for the killer.

“The brutal murder of the doctor has exposed how unsafe our mothers and sisters are at workplaces. We should all seek security for women at their workplace,” said Gopal Kumar More, the president of the Manch.

AMCH vice-principal H.C. Kalita said health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma would discuss the matter with Gogoi tomorrow and decide which demands could be fulfilled immediately and then give this in writing, as sought by the students.

“Senior doctors are now manning the wards,” he said.

In Jorhat, the Jorhat Jagrita Aoikya (United) Mancha, comprising 50 socio-cultural organisations, in a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee, said exemplary punishment should be given to the accused in the murder case.

The Mancha also organised a candle-lit march from Marwari Thakurbari here this evening to Gar Ali via AT Road.