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Government doctors withdraw strike call

May 20, 2003 01:06 IST

Tamil Nadu Government Doctors Association on Monday withdrew its proposed indefinite strike from May 21 in support of medical students agitating in the state.

The striking students are pressing for Medical Council of India's recognition to as many as 79 courses offered in various government and private medical colleges, increase in stipend and a ban on opening of new private medical colleges.

President Dr K Prakasam and General Secretary Dr Muthurajan in a statement said the doctors association, at a late night meeting, decided to withdraw the strike call in view of the 'sufferings the poor patients would be subjected to'.

They expressed the hope that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa would meet all their demands.

Earlier in the day, the association suffered a split with a section of doctors, opposed to the strike plan, forming a separate outfit -- Tamil Nadu Government Doctors' Federation -- with senior civil surgeon of Vellore Government Hospital V S Vijay as convenor.

The decision to withdraw the strike call came after the government began serving show-cause notices to the doctors who participated in the one-day strike on May 14.

Maintaining that the doctors were in no way connected with the medical students' demands, the government had earlier warned that it would invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act if the doctors went ahead with their strike.

The doctors had on May 10 joined the Medicos agitation by abstaining from certain surgeries, which had adversely affected the health services in government hospitals.

The services in government hospitals continued to remain affected with the medicos strike entering 27th day.

Director of Medical Education Dr C Ravindranath earlier claimed some students had given undertakings not to take part in future strikes and their suspensions would be revoked. However, representatives of the medicos disputed Ravindranath's claim and said they would challenge the disciplinary action in the court.

The government had on Saturday suspended over 5,000 students participating in the agitation on the ground that they had violated an undertaking given at the time of admission.

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