By IANS, [RxPG] The Maharashtra government terminated the registration of 200 more striking doctors as their protest continued for the seventh day Sunday, crippling healthcare services.
The decision late Saturday night takes to over 350 the number of doctors terminated from service.
Over 2,500 doctors from 15 government-managed hospitals have stayed away from work since Feb 27 demanding better security while on the job after relatives of a patient beat up a doctor.
The doctors are also demanding an increase in stipend and improvement in working conditions.
Doctors of select municipal hospitals from several other cities in Maharashtra like Pune, Aurangabad, Sholapur and Nagpur have also joined the strike in solidarity.
The confrontation between the authorities and the doctors is not showing any sign of abating. The doctors have vowed to continue with the strike even in the face of termination of registration.
"The highhanded attitude of the government has strengthened our resolve to continue the strike," said a spokesman of the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) that is spearheading the strike.
"The authorities must understand that termination of services of even all doctors of government-run hospitals will not solve the problems we are fighting against," he added.
"Our demands are very valid and that is why we are getting support from not only doctors in other cities but also from outside the state. We are also planning to take legal help against the termination orders."
An official said tough action would be initiated against others for failing to respond to the government's ultimatum to return to work.
The government invoked the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act (MESMA) Wednesday night and asked doctors to return to work at the earliest or face deregistration of their licenses.
Meanwhile, hundred of patients continued to throng government-run hospitals across Mumbai as authorities struggled to cope with the emergency cases with the help of skeletal staff.
Scores of patients were seen lying in the corridors of various hospitals.