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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Doctors take to streets, cops pull no punches

Police caned around 200 doctors who effected a road blockade in front of the Directorate of Medical Education here around 3.50 pm on Monday.

A large number of doctors participating in the blockade were women and they did not escape police action. Retaliating, the doctors later charged into the Medical Directorate and broke chairs and glass doors. However, no one was reported hurt in the mêlée.

The doctors who had completed their MBBS in the non-service category had assembled to participate in the last leg of counselling conducted by the DME for post-graduate courses in government colleges in the state. Non-service candidates are those who have not opted for continuing working with the state government in state-run hospitals.

However, the students realised that only 21 non-service students, who went to court and got a favourable ruling on Monday, were allowed to participate in the 16 courses on offer on Friday in the quota reserved for service candidates.

The left out students contended that those, among them, who went to court had fought on behalf of all non-service students and hence they too should be allowed to attend counselling.

However, after Dr Mohanasundaram, additional director of medical education (in-charge), refused to entertain the demand citing court orders, the students enforced the blockade.

Before police arrived, the blockade had created a traffic snarl on Poonamalee High Road.When police realised that the agitators were unwilling to lift the blockade they began the caning.

However, the protesters stood their ground and demanded to see the court order. When Dr Mohanasundaram produced the government pleader’s opinion on the verdict, the agitating doctors questioned it, asking if only the rich could afford justice. The police then threatened to arrest them and a clash erupted.

The enraged doctors charged into the Directorate. Around 6 pm, Dr Mohanasundaram announced that all non-service students would be allowed to participate in the counselling.

Doctors’ Association for Social Equality (DASE) has demanded action against the guilty policemen and also called for a one-day medical students’ strike in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday.


THE tussle between the non-service doctors and the Directorate of Medical Education is a long standing one but the latest problem is over rule 52 (b) in the prospectus of post graduate applications, which does not allow the non-service students any quota in eight disciplines each in nonclinical and clinical subjects.

In all the other disciplines otherwise mentioned the quota stands - 50 per cent for all India quota that any student can apply, including the non-service students of Tamil Nadu; 25 per cent for service candidates and 25 per cent for non-service candidates from Tamil Nadu.

But in the select 18 disciplines, the Government had issued a GO stating that 50 per cent quota should be alloted completely to service candidates only and that the non-service students could apply in the all India quota only in those subjects alone. This was mentioned in the prospectus.

The non-service doctors, realising that they would not get any share of the reservation pie went to the Madras High Court. Unfortunately only 21 students went to court.

The court declared an interim stay on the counselling proceedings and said that the 21 students should be included in the 50 per cent quota meant for the service students.

“This sudden demand for courses, including MD radio diagnosis and MD radio therapy, was because these courses are very expensive in the many private colleges, but have immediate remuneration of at least Rs 60,000 to over a lakh per month in private hospitals,” explained the DME additional director.

The situation took a dramatic turn as the MCI clearly states that the admission for post graduation should not be delayed and that the last date for admission being May 31. Since there was a delay in the all India counselling, the SC had granted extension till June 10.

This website's News Paper lensman faces cop’s ire

This website's News Paper photographer was almost attacked and his equipment broken, when he attempted to take photographs of the lathi charge ordered by the police against doctors, here on Monday.

A woman inspector, wielding a lathi, seized the camera equipment and threatened to break it while This website's News Paper lensman J Manoharan was attempting to capture images of the lathi charge. This happend despite the he showed his identity card.

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