Orissa doctors resign en masse over colleagues’ dismissal (Lead)

November 3rd, 2008 - 8:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Nov 3 (IANS) Government doctors in Orissa Monday resigned en masse to protest the dismissal of three of their colleagues, who had allegedly cut off the palms of five tribals’ bodies while performing autopsies.At least 2,468 government doctors submitted their resignations to the state government Monday, Madhusudan Mishra, president of the Orissa Medical Service Association (OMSA), told IANS.

“The doctors have sent the mass resignation letters to the state health secretary, Anu Garg,” Mishra said.

The Orissa Medical Service Association (OMSA) has around 3,000 members and the remaining doctors also would send their resignations in a day or two, he said.

“If the government does not withdraw the dismissal orders, we will presume that the government has accepted our resignation and will not join work from Nov 9,” he said.

State Health Minister Sanatan Bisi, however, said the government was ready to talk. “I appeal them (doctors) to refrain from the agitation,” Bisi told reporters.

The state government last month dismissed Bibek Swain, an anaesthesiologist, Santanu Sahu, a surgeon, and Anup Nath Sharma, an orthopaedic specialist, for allegedly cutting off the palms of five tribals while performing autopsies on their bodies.

The five tribals were killed in police firing during protests in the coastal district of Jajpur three years ago.

The doctors said they had done so following directions from administration and police officials to preserve the identity of those killed.

Of the 500 tribals protesting construction being undertaken by Tata Steel at the industrial complex in Kalinga Nagar, about 100 km from Bhubaneswar, at least 13 were killed during the police firing Jan 2, 2006.

The incident created a storm within and outside Orissa. Following pressure from various human right groups, the state government suspended the three doctors the same year.

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