Patna, April 21: Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital in Muzaffarpur resembled a battleground today as junior doctors clashed with local residents and patients’ attendants over the death of a patient.
At least 10 vehicles, including four ambulances, parked on the premises were set ablaze. Over a dozen persons, including five doctors, were injured as bricks and stones flew. Some patients, doctors and paramedics locked themselves in rooms at the hospital to save themselves as the mob ran amok vandalising north Bihar’s premier government healthcare hub.
Police, however, denied reports of firing by the protesters.
The trouble erupted around 7.30am when some junior doctors of the hospital paralysed medical services in the outdoor patient department in protest against the thrashing of their colleagues by the relatives of a patient from Sheohar who died late on Thursday night.
Relatives of other patients, who had come to the hospital from far off places, created a scene outside the hospital in protest against the flash strike by doctors and blocked National Highway 77 that connects Muzaffarpur with Sitamarhi. Local residents joined them. When the police intervened, they too had to face the wrath of the protesters.
“The situation was brought under control after the intervention of senior officials, including the district magistrate (DM) and the senior superintendent of police (SSP),” said Muzaffarpur deputy superintendent of police Kumar Ashish.
Eyewitnesses, however, claimed that doctors targeted more than 50 vehicles including 10 ambulances after the attendants of the Sheohar resident blamed them for the death.
“The situation aggravated after the drivers of the ambulances sided with the attendants,” said Ravish Kumar, a resident of Ahiyapur locality in Muzaffarpur.
Ravish, (34), who runs a medicine shop near the hospital, said the lawlessness and chaos prevailed for more than five hours.
Medical services at the hospital remained disrupted since morning.
“Even shops outside the hospital were not spared,” said Navin Kumar (42), of Jhapahan village close to the hospital. “The mob damaged five shops.”
Muzaffarpur DM Dharmendra Singh Gangwar said additional security forces had been deployed at the hospital as a precautionary measure.
“We have already brought the situation under control. Efforts are on to restore medical services,” he said, adding that he held parleys with the officials of the hospital and representatives of the junior doctors.
Four protesters have been taken into custody, said Muzaffarpur SSP Vivek Kumar.
“Action will be taken against all those people who had indulged in vandalism and arson,” he added. “Video clips have been procured to ascertain the identity of the vandals.”
The SSP described the situation as tense but under control.
A violent clash between attendants and junior doctors of the hospital had erupted last week as well.
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