Fistfight at JJ as some nurses refuse to strike

A fight ensued as a few nurses insisted on reporting to work in spite of the state-wide strike called by unions of Class III and IV government workers, which disrupted services at the JJ group of hospitals 
The ongoing state-wide strike called by unions of Class III and IV workers in the government sector turned ugly at the state-run JJ hospital yesterday, when a nurse from a striking union tried to prevent another nurse from reporting for duty. This resulted in a heated argument and a physical fight.

Fistfight apart, around 100 surgeries at the JJ group of hospitals -- which includes St George Hospital, GT Hospital and the Cama & Albless Hospital -- had to be postponed, as nurses, ward boys and OT attendants joined the strike.

Work goes on: While most of the senior nurses went on strike at
JJ Hospital yesterday, 370 student nurses stepped in to save the day.
File pic

Yesterday, Pramila Thule, a staff nurse at JJ hospital -- who is a member of the Sarkari Paricharika Pragati Sangathna -- reported to work along with some other members of the union, who were unwilling to join the strike. On her way to reporting for duty, she was allegedly stopped by Kasturi Kadam. A heated altercation ensued, with Kadam twisting Thule's arm. The high-strung drama came to an end only after the police intervened and booked Kadam under Sections 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from duty) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of the IPC.

Kadam was granted bail by the Mazgaon court later in the same afternoon.

Speaking to MiD DAY, Thule said, "I was just doing my duty. Like some other nurses, I do not endorse the idea of going on strike. In the earlier strike as well, we had worked. Though she twisted my arm and raised a stink in public, I returned to my duties after registering a complaint at the police station."

"The nurses should not indulge in such behavior. Very few nurses reported to work, but another nurse tried stopping them, even resorting to physical violence. Since the nurse was arrested, we have initiated a departmental inquiry against her," said Dr T P Lahane, dean of the JJ group of hospitals.

He added that operations in the hospital had not been hampered by the strike, with all emergency surgeries being performed. "We conducted around 22 emergency operations in the hospital, as 37 senior nurses reported to work in the first shift. Around 370 student nurses saved the day by stepping in for their senior counterparts, who are on strike. Also, our MBBS students doubled as ward boys, OT attendants, trolley pullers and even distributed the food to the patients," said Lahane.

As the kitchen staff was also on strike, the hospital staff procured food packets for patients from the hospital's canteen.

Union speaks
Kamal Waikule, general secretary of the Maharashtra Government Nurses' Federation, said, "We are the largest nurse union in Mumbai, with 1,800 nurses on our rolls. We have 800 nurses from the JJ hospital on our roles, who are all on strike. A few nurses want to break the strike and join work, but that is not our concern. We are striking only for the benefit of the nurses."

When questioned about the incident, she said, "Kadam is our office bearer and she has been granted bail."

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