Kutch doctors demand gun licence for self defence

A doctor holds a placard at a government hospital during a strike demanding security after the recent assaults on doctors by the patients’ relatives, in Agartala, India, June 14, 2019. REUTERS/Jayanta Dey TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

In the wake of protests by doctors across the country against the assault on two junior doctors in Kolkata last week, the Mandvi town faction of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) in Kutch has requested gun licences.

The doctors had participated in the nationwide protest under the IMA on Monday. We have demanded that an act be brought by the Union government, where the safety and security of doctors are ensured while they are on duty, Dr Punit Khatri, a gynaecologist and president of the Indian Medical Association, Mandvi, said. If the government is unable to do that, they should provide us licences for weapons so that we can defend ourselves.

Over 60 doctors are part of Mandvi IMA. The doctors said they were considering sending mass applications for the licences to the Kutch collector, even as junior doctors in West Bengal called off their week-long strike after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee agreed to their demands on enhancing security for doctors.

At the meeting with Banerjee, several doctors presented their point of view to ensure their safety at the workplace. We have also sent a list of 20 suggestions to IMA, Ahmedabad, for better work conditions for doctors, Dr Parag Mardaniya, a general physician in Mandvi, said.

However, the doctors admitted that the relationship between doctors and patients in Mandvi has been harmonious. The relationships are built on trust and we have not witnessed any volatile situation here, said Dr Khatri. But the situation is changing fast across India.

Kutch Collector Remya Mohan said she had not received any mass applications for gun licences yet. There is a proper channel and procedure to apply for it, Mohan said.