25 govt docs arrested, 3 injured in police action in Kathmandu

Published On: February 11, 2019 02:30 AM NPT

KATHMANDU, Feb 11: Police intervened in a sit-in organized by agitating government doctors at the Ministry of Health and Population on Sunday against the government for not implementing an agreement earlier signed with the Government Doctors' Association of Nepal (GODAN). At least 25 doctors were arrested and three were injured in police baton-charge at around 1 pm.

According to GODAN, police intervened in their peaceful protest and apprehended at least 25 doctors, who are kept at Nepal Police Club. Three doctors – Dr Rakesh Yadav, Dr Kapil Gautam and Dr Binod Gyawali - were wounded when police attacked them, according to GODAN. The government doctors had begun their peaceful protest at 10 am on the ministry premises.

GODAN had called the doctors working at government health facilities to gather in Kathmandu for pressing the government to implement the agreement signed with them on January 13, according to Dr Dipendra Pandey, president of the GODAN. “We were obliged to stage a protest after the government did not show any interest in addressing our demands,” he said, “We will intensify our protests as the government started attacking the doctors instead of implementing the agreement signed with them."

The agreement was signed between the agitating doctors and a team from the Ministry of Health and Population. Earlier, the government doctors had staged protests against the government initiative to fill up the government employee adjustment forms as per the Civil Service Adjustment Ordinance.

On February 6, GODAN urged the government doctors to come to Kathmandu for creating pressure against the government in order to implement the agreement signed with them.

Last December and January, GODAN staged protests deciding not to fill up the adjustment forms and organizing sit-ins in front of the Ministry of Health and Population in the Kathmandu Valley, in front of the social development ministries in all seven provinces and in front of all local bodies across the country.

According to GODAN, the doctors launched the protests forwarding their 14 demands, issuing a five-point charter. They visited Prime Minister's Office on December 23, last year, and submitted their demands to PM's chief advisor Bishnu Rimal as PM KP Oli was unavailable. Earlier, GODAN handed the list of demands to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health and Population, Upendra Yadav, on December 21.

The 14 demands raised by the doctors include objection against Civil Servants Adjustment Ordinance, appointment of health secretary, appointment of Vice Chancellor at National Academy of Medical Sciences (Bir Hospital), Federal Civil Service Act and miscellaneous issues.

The agreement signed between GODAN and the health ministry team on January 13 clearly mentioned that their demands would be addressed. According to the GODAN, there are 1,600 doctors working at government health facilities across the country. A record of Nepal Medical Council (NMC) shows that more than 21,000 doctors are registered with the NMC.

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