Lucknow/Kanpur: Acting tough, UP government this evening clamped ESMA against striking doctors hours after Allahabad High Court directed it to transfer police officials and ordered a judicial probe to end the deadlock arising out of the stir, but the medicos said they would not back down.
As the strike by the doctors in several parts of the state against the attack on their colleagues in Kanpur entered the sixth day today, paralysing health services, the government said it was invoking the Essential Services Maintenance Act amidst reports of deaths in different districts of the state due to the strike to ensure that patients do not suffer any longer.
Kanpur DM Roshan Jacob said all striking doctors and other employees at GSV Medical College have been directed to return to work following the invoking of ESMA, failing which action would be taken against them.
Stepping in to end the deadlock, the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court directed UP government to transfer SSP, Kanpur, Yashaswi Yadav, and other officials involved in the February 28 incident, but clarified that it was only to resolve the situation and should not be taken as a “stigma” on the officials.
Taking suo motu cognisance, the Lucknow bench comprising justices Imtiyaz Murtaza and Devendra Kumar Upadhaya directed a probe by retired Justice VK Mathur into the matter.
However, the state government informed it that a one-man judicial commission under retired justice RMS Chauhan has already been set up, following which the court kept its order in abeyance and directed the state government to file Justice Chauhan Commission’s report in three weeks.
It also sought replies from the principal secretary medical/health, SGPGI administrator and others by March 10, the next date of hearing.
It also permitted the striking doctors to intervene in the matter and appointed senior advocate Jaideep Narain Mathur as amicus curiae.
But as the government appeared to harden its stand, the striking doctors said they would not be cowed down and stuck to their three demands —— arrest of ruling SP MLA Irfan Solanki, action against SSP Yadav, and withdrawal of charges against the 24 junior doctors.
“Our campaign will continue… If there is any attempt to nab us, we will resign en masse. If we are no longer in government service, ESMA would not apply to us,” president of junior doctors association Aditya Patel told PTI.
The National Human Rights Commission, meanwhile, today appealed to all stakeholders, including UP government, to end the doctors’ strike by bringing all the guilty to justice.
In a statement, NHRC said it was deeply concerned over the reports of health services being affected in UP, leading to the death of many patients.