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Cops lathicharge nurses, 4 injured

Asian Heart strike: Day 3

The nurses' strike at Bandra's Asian Heart Hospital that has crippled the functioning of the medical facility turned violent yesterday as the police resorted to a lathicharge on the striking nurses.

Confirming the lathicharge, Sujit, a nurse working at the hospital for the last four months, said, "Four of our fellow nurses were injured during the lathi charge. It was evident that the police were aiming to hurt the female staff. We have admitted the nurses to the hospital for their injuries."

Entering its third day of strike, the 230-odd nurses showed no signs of retreating from their stand.

In fact, two nurses, Melvin and Jesse, started a hunger strike in order to fulfill their demands of acquiring their original certificates back from the hospital management.

The nurses at the hospital claimed that the protest had increased as several other nurses from private hospitals had come out to support them in their cause.

The caregivers have gone on strike since Wednesday as a sign of dissent following the death of their colleague, Beena Baby (21) owing to the alleged harassment by superiors.

Jibin, a nurse participating in the strike, said, "No one wants to work in a hospital where the management doesn't respect the nursing staff.

If they were concerned about the patients, they would have not harassed us like this." He added that all the nurses were ready to resign once they received their certificates.

The other side
Meanwhile, Dr Vijay D'Silva, managing director, Asian Heart Institute said, "We have witnessed some vandalism today and are sad that the nurses resorted to violence rather than dialogue."

When asked about the nurses' demands, he added that the hospital had gone out of its way to fulfill them on October 19 but the staff backed out.
 
In an attempt to end the deadlock, they had also conducted a meeting with the nursing representatives on Thursday.

"Since the nursing staff walked out on critically ill patients and also threatened the other staff looking after these patients, and most of them have not come to collect certificates in the last 24 hrs, the AHI management will now re-interview these nurses and decide on whom to retain," he further added.

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