Six of the doctors agitating in Kota, Bundi, Baran and Jhalawar districts over their various demands were arrested today under the Rajasthan Essential Services Maintenance Act (RESMA). The arrests came as the medical practitioners continued to protest despite the government warning action against them if they did not return to work by evening. "Two doctors were arrested from Jhalawar, two from Bharatpur and one each from Tonk and Sawaimadhopur," ADG (Law and Order) NRK Reddy said. Health Minister Kalicharan Saraf told reporters here: "We had issued them an ultimatum to return to work till 7 pm today." He said the government will intensify action against the agitating doctors after 7 pm. The minister held the leader of All Rajasthan State In Service Doctors Association Dr Ajay Chaudhary responsible for the strike. "Dr Chaudhary seems to have some personal interest... he is trying to create hurdles in breaking the deadlock. He is being guided by someone," the minister alleged. He said several rounds of talks were held with the agitating doctors, who proceeded on a mass casual leave in support of their 33-point demand on Monday, but "the talks failed due to their adamant attitude". The protesters agreed to end the deadlock at a meeting last night but Chaudhary raised a demand related to resident doctors at the last moment, Saraf said. "The matter was almost resolved but Chaudhary raised demand of resident doctors and insisted that it be met immediately.
The demand of resident doctors was not in the agenda ... Therefore, it was not possible for us to meet the demand immediately and the meeting failed," he said. The health minister said alternative arrangements have been made for patients in hospitals. Around 40 per cent of the in-service government doctors are agitating and the rest are on duty. Normal services have been hit badly and doctors from the Army, BSF, Railways among others have been called in, he said. A report from Kota said the alternative arrangements were of little help. District hospitals, community health centres and primary health centres in rural areas wore a deserted look as a few patients reached there for treatment. Two doctors in Bundi district today joined duty after counselling by the administration, officials said.
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