Health services in Madhya Pradesh were affected on Tuesday as around 1,200 junior doctors at five government hospitals in the state resigned to protest the “expulsion” of five of their colleagues in Gwalior.

Junior doctors in government-run hospitals across the state launched an indefinite strike on Monday to press for their various demands, including a hike in stipend. However, five of the protesting doctors in Gwalior were expelled by the authorities on Monday.

There are five government hospital-cum-medical colleges across Madhya Pradesh. They are in Bhopal, Gwalior, Indore, Jabalpur and Rewa.

“Around 1,200 junior doctors from the five government hospital-cum-medical colleges in the state resigned en masse to protest the expulsion of five of our colleagues by the state government,” president of Junior Doctors Association in Madhya Pradesh, Dr Sachet Saxena, told PTI.

He accused the government of treating the junior doctors as its “servants”.

“The government has clamped Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to thwart our indefinite strike that began on Monday for a hike in stipend and other things,” Dr Saxena said.

According to him, after tendering resignation, the doctors have started leaving the hostels. Due to the strike and en masse resignations, health services in these hospitals were affected and hundreds of patients were put to inconvenience.

When contacted, minister of state for health Sharad Jain said the government is making alternative arrangements to ensure that people do not suffer due to these developments.

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