Doctors from across Maharashtra were out in full force at Mumbai's Azad Maidan on Friday afternoon, protesting against violence meted out to them. The immediate provocation for it was the savage beating a young doctor in Dhule endured from relatives of a patient who died of kidney problems.

It was disconcerting to see the outpouring of anger from men and women, well-educated individuals, many grey haired doctors who have decades in medical practice, forced to come out in the blazing sun and to protest with banners and slogans usually reserved for the blue collared class. There was unity as we saw them speak in one voice about the increasing violence against doctors.

The protest, which was reported in this paper, saw different points being raised, from the need for greater security in government hospitals, to holding the deans accountable for incidents like these and failure to provide adequate security. There was dark humour in statements like doctors will have to be accompanied by bouncers. But hardly had one day elapsed post the large-scale protest at Azad Maidan, and news surfaced that a doctor in Sion Hospital had been beaten up by relatives of a woman, who died of kidney disease.

We need to have a strong and final solution to these kinds of happenings. Hospital managements have to sit down together for a course of action. It may be time for the state government to step in. The violence widens the chasm between the doctor and patient, and it emboldens attackers who think this is the way to protest. A city which boasts of having good medical care and a country that is proud of its medical tourism, cannot afford to have these clashes at the base of the health ladder. We need decisive action by all concerned arms; those who heal cannot become convenient targets.