How did it go from flower showers to alleged lathicharge on doctors?

Doctors protesting delay in NEET-PG counselling, allege “police brutality’; call for withdrawal from healthcare services across the country from December 29

Police brutality

Doctors had been hailed as “warriors” during the devastating Covid-19 second wave just months ago. Flower petals were showered on them from choppers as the government’s gesture on thanksgiving. Many on the frontline were young doctors who worked long hours, often staying away from families for months, till the killer wave subsided. Many lost their lives while on duty, trying to help others.

However, all that seems a thing of the past. On Monday December 27, a protest called by young doctors in New Delhi, was in the news for the wrong reasons. Doctors have alleged that while they were protesting the delay in NEET-PG counselling, they were “brutally thrashed and lathicharged” by Delhi Police personnel. Doctors shared photos and videos of the protest on social media.

By Tuesday, the Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA) called for a complete withdrawal from all healthcare services across the country from 8 A.M on December 29 “in protest against brute force by Delhi Police against doctors.” The FAIMA stated that “resident doctors were protesting peacefully and alleged that female doctors were brutally thrashed and lathicharged by male police personnel during the demonstration.” According to news reports, resident doctors’ associations of government-run hospitals also called for a complete shutdown of all healthcare institutions in protest of the alleged use of force and detention of doctors d by the Delhi Police, when the protest march headed towards the Supreme Court.

Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) also issued a statement against the alleged “police brutality” and called it a “black day in the history of the medical fraternity”. The Resident Doctors from Delhi’s major government hospitals, have been demanding the “immediate declaration of NEET PG 2021 counselling schedule”. The delays are reportedly “due to a clutch of cases pending in the Supreme Court over the recently introduced quota for the economically weaker sections”.

According to news reports, around 50 doctors, including the president of the FORDA that is leading the strike, were detained near ITO on Monday. Dr Anuj Aggarwal, general secretary of the resident doctors’ association of Safdarjung Hospital told mediapersons, “Both male and female doctors were dragged on the road. Several people were injured, some had lacerations from being dragged, others got hit against the barricades, and still others received injuries to their hand when the bus door was closed on it.” The doctors were later released.

According to a report in Indian Express, the Delhi Police registered an FIR under sections of rioting, causing obstruction in duty and damaging public property against the doctors, at IP Estate police station after a complaint was filed by a police personnel.


The IE quoted Additional DCP (Central district) Rohit Meena as saying, “They came to protest and tried to stop the traffic movement. We tried to stop them and they then started marching towards the Supreme Court. We again stopped them after discussing with them. Seven police personnel received minor injuries and they have damaged two buses as well. We are taking legal opinion before lodging any FIR against them.” 

Over 2,500 resident doctors were detained at the Sarojini Nagar police station while they were marching towards the Union Health Minister’s residence. With no space within the police station, they stood outside. In addition to slogans, they also sang the national anthem, stated news reports.

The strike had resumed on December 17, and now the doctors are getting many messages of solidarity online.


It is crucial to remember that Doctors, nurses, and health workers on duty were hugely impacted during Covid-19 this year. By June, as many as 650 doctors of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) died due to Covid-19. According to their state-wise break-up of deaths, 109 deaths were recorded in Delhi within the past two months or so. States that followed suit were Bihar and Uttar Pradesh with 96 and 67 deaths respectively. By the end of the month, the national death count rose to 798 healthcare workers. 


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