Fed up of the alleged malpractices by a professor that also created mental trauma, students of the BJ Medical College at all levels have announced an indefinite strike from Saturday.
They are demanding the resignation of Dr Kamlesh Upadhyay, professor and head of department (medicine).
The president of Junior Doctors’ Association (JDA), Rahul Gamati, asserted the strike would start at 8 am from February 19. “Over 1,500 resident doctors, interns and senior doctors will stop emergency, OPD and ward duties starting tomorrow until the issue is resolved and Dr Upadhyay resigns,” he told Vibes of India (VO!).
Nikhil Bhatija, JDA member and student of radiation and oncology, said Dr Upadhyay had been harassing students since December 2021. “The undergraduate students from his department who couldn’t attend college during the March 2020 lockdown were marked as ‘fail’ despite having sat for examinations,” Bhatija said.
He also cited other incidents where Dr Upadhyay allegedly used his position of power to threaten students and attempted to nip even the talks of protest in the bud. “He ushered some of our classmates to his chambers and asked them to sign on a blank paper and withdraw their protest unconditionally. He threatened that he will fail the students and not sign their dissertations if they refused to put heed to his command,” Bhatija said.
The members of Junior Doctors’ Association said they had held a token strike today morning while Gujarat Health Minister Rushikesh Patel was in the Civil Hospital premises. “He did not pay any attention to our grievances and left without listening to us,” JDA president Gamati said.
“We were to go on strike from February 2 itself, but the health minister called us for a meeting and told us that a committee will be formed in the next two days to look into the allegations against Dr Upadhyay following which appropriate action will be taken. It has been 15 days now but nothing has been done,” Gamati said.
The members of JDA led by Gamati also met medical superintendent Dr Rakesh Joshi today evening. “He just said he will take the matter to concerned authorities,” Yash Patel, another JDA member and second year student of medicine, told VO!.
When asked about the students’ concern and the impending strike, Dr Joshi told VO!, “We will try to ask students to take the agitation forward. We have heard them and will try to get to the bottom of this situation as soon as possible.”
Dr Upadhyay, against whom the charges are levied, refused to answer the queries of VO!
regarding the allegations. “I am busy in a meeting,” he said and cut the call.
The junior and senior medical students of BJ Medical College have been protesting on and off since December last year. It was only on February 2 of this month did they receive an audience with the health minister.
Read: BJ Medical MBBS Students’ Protest Enters Its Nineteenth Day