Jammu and Kashmir cracks down on striking doctors


Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government Saturday suspended 28 doctors and decided to appoint others, in the wake of the junior doctors’ agitation that has been going on for 15 days now.

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“Interviews for the new appointments will start here from Monday,” an official of the state health department said here.

Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather had told reporters Friday that the government would take all necessary steps to protect healthcare facilities in the state.

The healthcare facilities in all government hospitals of here and in other major towns of the valley have been seriously hit due to the strike by junior doctors here.

Hundreds of patients have either been discharged from hospitals or have had to return without treatment as the outpatients’ departments (OPDs) were very under-staffed.

“The government and the striking doctors are both holding the poor patients hostage to their ego and prestige. We are the only sufferers in this ego clash between the doctors and the government,” said 54-year-old Abdul Razak, a resident of Beerwah area in central Badgam district who had come to the SMHS hospital here for treatment of his chronic respiratory ailment, but had to return without getting to meet a doctor.

The doctors struck work because they are paid less than their colleagues in other states. Doctors working at the Sher-e-Kashmir Soura Medical Institute (SKIMS) here are paid more too.