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RIMS students' strike continues, work hit

29 Dec 2008: RANCHI: At least nine patients died at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in the past 24 hours even as the indefinite strike called by doctors paralyzed work at the institute on Sunday. Medical students at RIMS went on an indefinite strike on Saturday following a clash with local residents.

RIMS superintendent I B Prasad, however, told TOI that nine deaths in the hospital in the last 24 hours should not be linked with the doctors' strike. "On an average there are about nine to ten deaths at RIMS every day. So these nine deaths on in the past 24 hours should not be linked to the strike," Prasad said.

The students have been on an indefinite strike since Saturday in support of their eight-point demand including more security on the campus and disciplinary action against the DSP and office-in-charge of the Bariatu police station. The strike was called soon after an irate mob entered the hospital and thrashed the doctors on duty and RIMS boarders. The clashes began when local a ward councillor, Javed Akhtar, was injured in an accident involving a doctor's vehicle.

All efforts by state health minister Bhanu Pratap Sahi to break the deadlock between the locals and students went in vain. The minister also held an emergent board meeting at RIMS on Sunday. The meet decided that emergency wards be opened and senior doctors will take over the charge. "The patients are not at fault and they should not suffer." Sahi said.

The minister also accepted some demands of the students like increasing the height of RIMS boundary wall, frisking of all vehicles entering the campus and issue of gate pass. He also agreed to the demand made by girl students to enhance security on the campus and deployment of female security guards.

A peeved Sahi asked the RIMS administration to deal sternly with the frequent strikes by doctors and other staff and ensure that there is no repetition of Saturday's incident.

Ranchi SSP Sampat Meena assured the students that an inquiry committee headed by a magistrate will be formed to probe the matter. She also said the role of Bariatu police station OC would be probed. "The inquiry committee will submit its report within 10 days. Action will be taken accordingly," Meena said.

Students on the other hand said that unless their eight-point charter of demands is fulfilled they would not call off the strike. They, however, said emergency services at the hospital would not be disrupted.- as Published by Times of India.

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