Doctors’ oath

by January 8, 2020 0 comments

As doctors were stopped from treating injured JNU students, IMA asks if we are in a civil war

The Indian Medical Association (IMA), which has always been adamant about staying away from politics simply because it should not colour the way doctors react and treat their patients, has come out against the violence at JNU in strong terms. Questioning the “New Truth in India” as AIIMS doctors and nurses were stopped by goons from attending to injured students, it has asked, “How does it reflect on the nation, if it cannot protect its doctors and nurses reaching out to the injured? Is this a civil war? What is the message that goes out to the nation?” The IMA has clearly decided not to be a silent majority and speak out as a responsible community. This is the same IMA, which in August 2019, had accused the medical journal, The Lancet, of committing a “breach of propriety” while commenting on “a political issue,” when it slammed the Narendra Modi-led Government for its clampdown in Kashmir. But now that doctors, too, are at the receiving end of a police State, it is bent on upholding the Hippocratic oath, one which binds them to the business of saving lives, even of the enemy’s. The IMA had even questioned police action inside hospitals on December 22, during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests, calling the crackdown “a new low in the civic life of the nation.”

So does the medical body’s slow change of stance mean that realisation is slowly dawning in civil society that we have to speak and stand up against the acts of subversion of democracy that we are witnessing in our lifetime?  Perhaps, the IMA change in stance has been influenced by the fact that junior doctors in premier institutes like AIIMS have also participated in protests and solidarity marches against the CAA. Perhaps, it has woken up to the need for addressing the students’ angst and concerns as citizens and not shoving them under the carpet. This is in sharp contrast to the JNU administration, which is yet to take any step to engage with protesting students. No arrests have been made. Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar is at best indifferent to the plight of those under his care and has not visited the injured faculty members and students. Neither has any police officer been sacked for inaction, nor has any probe been initiated against the cops’ partisan role during the violence and claims by a fringe Hindu group, the Hindu Raksha Dal, that it was responsible for the mayhem in JNU. The country cannot afford to be dumbed down anymore.

(Courtesy: The Pioneer)

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