New Delhi: The Indian Medical Association has condemned the violence unleashed on doctors and nurses who went to Jawaharlal Nehru University to treat injured students.
“How does it reflect on the nation, if it cannot protect its doctors and nurses reaching out to the injured?” the doctors’ association asked in a statement. “Is this a civil war? What is the message that goes out to the nation?”
The IMA also said that the Union home ministry has been blocking a law against violence on medical professionals. “IMA reiterates that doctors and nurses have the right of way to treat the injured and everyone has the right to life and access to care,” the body said.
IMA, World’s largest association of doctors strongly condemns violence on doctors & nurses in JNU. They also pointed out the current situation of India as total anarchy & breakdown of law & order. Medical facilities are safe even in war zones but not under Modi Shah. #JNUViolence pic.twitter.com/YeIjPBsIjG
— Harjit Singh Bhatti (@DrHarjitBhatti) January 6, 2020
In the past, the IMA has been known for its silence in political situations and even criticised for bending too far for the ruling regime. In August 2019, IMA president Santanu Sen wrote to the editor of The Lancet because the journal criticised the Narendra Modi government’s actions in Kashmir. Sen alleged alleged that The Lancet had “no locus standi on the issue of Kashmir” and had “committed breach of propriety in commenting on this political issue”.
Recently, however, it has made public statements questioning the use of police violence. On December 22, 2019, during the height of the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests and the government’s crackdown, the association condemned police action inside hospitals, calling it “a new low in the civic life of the nation”.
The statement also said that the police action is not entirely unexpected, referring to the “impunity” with which doctors and hospital staff are often attacked.