Doctors, students clash at BHU
Violence broke out on the Banaras Hindu University campus on Monday night when hundreds of students clashed with resident doctors at Sir Sundarlal Hospital after they refused to admit a patient saying there were no beds vacant in the surgery ward.
A baton charge by police aggravated the situation as the protesters went on the rampage, allegedly setting ablaze a police booth, damaging an ATM machine of a state-run bank and hurling petrol bombs at security personnel.
Around half a dozen students and a doctor were injured as each group threw stones at the other. One student was later arrested.
“The doctors have alleged that after the initial brawl at the hospital, inmates of the Bhagwandas and Birla hostels (on the campus) attacked the resident (doctors) of Dhanwantari Hostel and MBBS students of Ruiya Hostel,” Vinay Kumar Singh, additional district magistrate, Varanasi, said.
The trouble started around 10pm after Shivaji Singh, a student, approached the campus hospital to admit his ailing aunt from Chandauli, an adjoining tehsil. The students allege the resident doctors told the patient after keeping her waiting for four hours that there was no bed available for the next three days.
“Since there was no senior doctor available, the student (Shivaji) kept pleading with the resident doctors to admit his aunt who has a problem in her spinal cord and needed urgent attention. While the student was arguing with the hospital staff, the residents started beating him and misbehaved with the patient,” said a student of Bhagwandas Hostel, who asked not to be named.
The resident doctors, however, told the police a large number of students barged into the hospital and beat them up. The students also attacked the resident doctors and MBBS students in their hostels late in the night, the doctors said in their written complaint. Shivaji has since been arrested.
A source in the university said the doctors closed the doors of all the wards and declared a strike around 2am. They refused to work when the varsity’s medical superintendent, Vijay Nath Mishra, and chief proctor Royana Singh assured them of police action against the guilty students.
Vishwajeet Patel, a resident doctor, was injured in the brawl. Among the half a dozen students who were hurt, one suffered head injuries.
BHU authorities have suspended all classes till September 28 and asked the inmates of the four hostels to vacate their rooms within 24 hours. Fresh allotments would be done after a few days. “Some people are deliberately trying to vitiate the atmosphere of the university. We are alert to foil their plan,” chief proctor Royana said.
The authorities, however, failed to persuade the resident doctors to resume work on Tuesday. They stayed put in their hostels, demanding more security at the hospital. Senior doctors were seen attending to patients at the outpatients’ department in the afternoon.
Sources said Shivaji’s aunt, who was refused admission, returned to Chandauli for treatment by local doctors.
Violence had broken out on the BHU campus on Sunday too when some students were holding a meeting at the varsity’s main gate to commemorate their movement of last year when police and university guards had baton-charged girl students.