The stir by junior doctors protesting assault on two of their colleagues at a hospital in Kolkata assumed nationwide proportions on Friday with government doctors in various states expressing solidarity and resorting to agitations.
The protests began after a patient's relatives assaulted the doctors at NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata on Sunday night.
The doctors have demanded chief minister Mamata Banerjee's unconditional apology and set six conditions for the state government to withdraw their four-day-long stir that disrupted healthcare services across West Bengal.
Among other things, they are pressing for more stringent laws to protect them from such assaults.
Banerjee, who visited the state-run SSKM hospital on Thursday in the wake of disruption of medical services in several parts of the state, had warned the doctors of action if they did not resume work.
She had also alleged that 'outsiders' present among the agitating SSKM hospital doctors, 'abused' her.
Expressing solidarity with their junior colleagues, senior doctors said that their demands were quite justified.
The Indian Medical Association launched a three-day nationwide protest from Friday to express solidarity with the doctors and called for a strike on June 17 with withdrawal of non-essential health services.
In Delhi, scores of doctors at several government and private hospitals held demonstrations by boycotting work, marching and raising slogans.
They also met Union health minister Harsh Vardhan and apprised him of the medical fraternity's demand of ensuring safety and security of doctors in face of any violence in hospital premises.
In a letter to Banerjee, the Union minister has urged her to ensure an "amicable end" to the protests and provide a secure working environment for doctors.
Thousands of patients were hit hard when the doctors at All India Institute of Medical Sciences halted services.
"My sister was supposed to go for eye surgery. She has a tumour in one of her eyes. We reached the hospital as per the given time but the room was locked.
"The staff at the hospital said that the doctors are on strike. I don't know what when this strike would end," said Mohammed Arif, a resident of New Delhi, outside AIIMS.
Santosh Kumar also narrated his ordeal and said due to strike they are forced to take treatment for his mother from a private hospital and being a poor he cannot afford it.
Around 4,500 resident doctors in Maharashtra, including some 2,800 in Mumbai, went on a one-day strike.
The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors had declared that junior doctors at government hospitals in the state will not perform surgeries or attend to out-patient departments between 8 am and 5 pm on Friday.
In Hyderabad and other places in Telangana, junior doctors staged protests against the assault at major state-run hospitals, including Gandhi hospital and Osamania General hospital in the city, P S Vijayender, a leader of the junior doctors association in Telangana, said.
In Jaipur, doctors at the SMS government hospital wore black bands and helmets to express solidarity with their protesting colleagues in West Bengal.
Doctors from other districts of Rajasthan also took part in the token protest, according to a report.
In Raipur, around 400 junior doctors of Dr B R Ambedkar Memorial Hospital, Raipur - the biggest government hospital in the state - staged a protest from 8 am to 2 pm in premises of the
The services at the state-run Goa Medical College and Hospital at Panaji and its facilities across the state were partially affected Friday as several doctors went on a one-day strike.
In Chandigarh, over 1,200 resident doctors at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research held a demonstration to express solidarity with their protesting counterparts in Kolkata.
In Coimbatore, over 100 doctors staged a dharna in front of the government hospital to protest against the assault of a junior doctor in Kolkata.
The doctors, including women, belonging to the local chapter of Indian Medical Association and Tamil Nadu Government Doctors Association raised slogans.
With inputs from ANI