Rajasthan: 4 MBBS doctors on fast-unto-death strike; demand hike in gov't medical posts

Dr Rajendra Gurjar, Dr Deepak Mahawar, Dr Avinash Swami and Dr Ankit Rathore are the ones on hunger strike, with supporters around 
Rajasthan MBBS students on indefinite hunger strike | (Pic: Dr Vinod Bagra)
Rajasthan MBBS students on indefinite hunger strike | (Pic: Dr Vinod Bagra)

Four MBBS doctors in Rajasthan are staging a fast-unto-death strike, demanding that the seats for the Medical Officer Recruitment 2022 be increased from 1,765 to 4,500. The Rajasthan MBBS Doctors' Association has been protesting and rallying with regards to this demand for the last few days, but after no response from the state government, the doctors decided to resort to a hunger strike starting yesterday, January 19.

The protest is being held in front of Swasthya Bhavan, Jaipur. It started around 9.15 am. Dr Rajendra Gurjar, Dr Deepak Mahawar, Dr Avinash Swami and Dr Ankit Rathore are the ones on hunger strike, while many others are sitting along in support.

"The government did not pay any attention to these doctors the whole day. So in the evening, the doctors put up a tent in front of the health building. But the police administration removed the tent, threatened the doctors to get up from the fast and also tried to use force," reads a statement from the Rajasthan MBBS Doctors' Association.

Students speak up
Dr Vinod Bagra, President of the Association, added, "They also took away our quilts and mattresses. Students braved the winter cold and are on strike for the second consecutive day today (January 20). We will not budge until the government considers our demand."

"There are about 8,000-10,000 unemployed doctors in Rajasthan, who aspire for the post of Medical Officer. So, the seats should be increased," said Dr Raj Sekhar Yadav, State Convenor of UPCHAR (United Private Clinics and Hospitals Association of Rajasthan). Dr Bagra adds that the posts were even fewer. Two years ago, the government increased the number to 1,765 after the doctors demanded a hike. "Now, they need to be increased once more," he states.

In a letter drafted by the Rajasthan MBBS Doctors' Association on behalf of the Medical Officer Recruitment exam aspirants to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, the Association mentions that their representatives met the CM and other government authorities several times with the demand for hike in posts, but Gehlot only orally assured them that it would be done. There weren't any official notices issued in this regard.

"We were assured when the exam results were not yet declared and we wanted the posts to be increased before the declaration. However, they announced the results recently with the same number of posts. We were left with no other option but to protest," Dr Bagra says.

More reasons
He adds that another reason the posts should be increased is that about 10,000 doctors' positions remain vacant. If posts are increased, more doctors can be recruited against the vacancies. Additionally, the letter to the CM mentions that the posts for Nursing and ANM (Auxiliary Nurse and Midwife) were increased recently.

Further, the letter requests Gehlot to address the issue. The association has also issued a demand letter on behalf of the four students on hunger strike, in which, the MBBS doctors have asked the government to recruit doctors yearly for available posts apart from hiking the number and to issue official notices fulfilling their demands, as they would consider oral assurances no more.

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