As the strike by government doctors entered fifth day on Friday, the government began a crackdown under the Rajasthan Essential Services Maintenance Act (RESMA) and arrested six of them from different parts of the state.
In another development, the Rajasthan high court directed doctors to resume work with immediate effect and asked the government to ensure that the strike ends.
Health minister Kali Charan Saraf, who has been heading the panel talking to striking doctors’ representatives since the strike began on Monday, said if the doctors did not return to work by 7 pm on Friday, action will be taken.
Police said two doctors each from Bharatpur and Jhalawar districts, one each from Sawai Madhopur and Tonk districts were arrested under RESMA on Friday.
Saraf blamed obduracy of All Rajasthan In-Service Doctors Association (ARISDA) for the deadlock.
He said the government agreed to their “fair demands” on Thursday night when ARISDA president Dr Ajay Choudhary raised the issue of resident doctors. (Resident doctors of state medical colleges joined the strike on Thursday to show solidarity.)
The minister said the issue of resident doctors was not in the list of demands of doctors and was raised without information.
Showing two envelopes with Ajay Choudhary as the sender, the minister said the doctors had sent blank papers in the name of resignation, refuting doctors’ claim of mass resignation.