Press Trust of india

IMA calls off proposed protests after meeting with Shah

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New Delhi: The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has called off its proposed ‘White alert’ and ‘Black day’ protests scheduled on April 22 and 23 following a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah through video conference on Wednesday.

The doctors’ body has been demanding that the Centre bring a law to protect healthcare workers from rising attacks at a time when they are battling COVID-19.

According to a statement by the IMA, the Home Minister lauded the medical community for their work.

He said the safety and security of doctors and other health care workers was his great concern, the doctors’ body said.

“He (Union Home Minister) also assured IMA of a Central Law against violence. He appealed on behalf of the Prime Minister to defer the symbolic protest.

“In view of the assurances given from the highest authorities of the government, the IMA calls of the protest. White Alert on April 22 and Black Day on April 23 stand cancelled. We thank all our members for their unprecedented solidarity and support,” the doctors’ body said in a statement.

Amid rising incidents of violence against healthcare workers on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19, the IMA had called for a nation-wide ‘White Alert’, asking doctors and hospitals across the country to light candles on Wednesday as a protest against such attacks.

The doctors’ body had also warned that they will observe ‘Black Day’ if no action is taken by the government and doctors in the country will work with black badges on April 23.

“The IMA has maintained utmost restraint and patience in spite of extreme provocations. Doctors have been abused, beaten up, denied entry and residence. Obstruction to cremation is the last straw that IMA can bear.

“If dignity is denied even in death, our patience and restraint lose their value,” it said.

“We demand a special central law against violence on doctors, nurses, health care workers and hospitals by an ordinance,” the IMA had said on Tuesday.

Several incidents of violence against medical professionals have been reported from different parts of the country during the coronavirus outbreak.

In Chennai, an orthopaedic surgeon had to bury his associate, a neurosurgeon who died of COVID-19, in the middle of the night using his bare hands and a shovel at a crematorium with the help of just two hospital wardboys after the undertakers fled when a mob, protesting the interment, attacked them.

The windscreens of the ambulance, in which the body of the neurosurgeon was brought to the crematorium on Sunday night, were smashed.

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