Madhya Pradesh’s protesting healthcare workers were brutally lathicharged on Thursday when they refused to vacate the site of their agitation – for regularisation of jobs – in state capital Bhopal.
Fifteen protesters and a few policemen, including a station in-charge, were injured.
The police were directed to remove the protesting healthcare workers, who refused to budge and soon started throwing kicks and punches inviting police action.
The confrontation took an ugly turn when the police tried to remove the demonstrators forcefully from Neelam Park – a designated protest site in the city – since their permission had ended on Wednesday. The ground had been allotted to victims of Bhopal Gas Tragedy, which took place in 1984 on the night of December 2-3.
However, when the contractual healthcare workers refused to leave, the police resorted to use of mild force.
Several images and videos of the incident have since been shared widely on social media platforms.
In April this year, 6,213 healthcare workers were appointed by the Madhya Pradesh government on contract basis for three months. Their contract was renewed for a total of nine months as the Covid crisis in the state escalated.
Since their service contracts are going to end on December 31, the healthcare workers have been protesting demanding that their jobs be regularised.
Madhya Pradesh has so far recorded about 2.10 lakh cases of coronavirus, with 3,300 deaths. The state is seeing a surge in cases just as India’s overall daily infection numbers have reduced to lowest since July.
In Madhya Pradesh, 11 ministers, including Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, have contracted COVID-19 till now.