Angry doctors taking out a candlelight March in Jorhat demanding justice against Dr Deben Dutta’s killing on Saturday evening Credit: EastMojo image
Dr Deben Dutta (73) was reportedly beaten to death by garden workers in Assam’s Jorhat district on Saturday

Tinsukia: The Indian Medical Association (IMA) Assam state branch has announced a 24-hour strike in the state on September 3 following the brutal killing of a veteran doctor at a tea garden in Assam’s Jorhat district on Saturday.

Dr Deben Dutta, 73, a senior resident doctor, was beaten to death by garden workers after one of their co-workers died at the hospital. The doctor died while on the way to Jorhat Medical College.

Dr Dutta had retired a long time ago but was serving on extension at the tea estate and is considered to be one of the senior-most doctors in Jorhat.

“As a mark of protest against the gruesome incidences and no conviction in previous cases, failure on part of the government to provide security to the doctors, IMA Assam state branch most hesitantly calls for a ’24-hours withdrawal of medical services excluding emergency’ by doctors all over the state from 6 am of September 3 to 6 am of September 4,” a press release by IMA Assam state branch said.

A press statement issued by Indian Medical Association (IMA) Assam state branch to condemn the killing of Dr Deben Dutta in Jorhat, Assam

Angry doctors, under the banner of Jorhat Doctors’ Association (JDA), took out a candlelight march inside Jorhat Medical College on Saturday evening demanding justice and security for doctors.

Talking to EastMojo, secretary of IMA Jorhat branch Dr Sahd Ullah said: “According to information gathered by us, around 3.00 pm, when the doctor had gone for lunch, a patient was brought. The doctor immediately attended the patient, after he received a call, and declared the patient brought dead.”

“The attendants with the patient and other workers got angry and they started physically abusing him. They used local made weapons in the assault,” Ullah said, adding: “The brutual assault resulted in severe blood loss following which doctor Dutta collapsed.”

“He was the only doctor stationed in the hospital,” he added.

Talking to the EastMojo, Jorhat SP Vaibhav Chandrakant Nimbalkar said, “Based on the accounts of eyewitnesses and videos collected from them, we have detained 21 persons so far. We are trying to identify more persons involved in the incident and arrest them. IGP (law and order) Deepak Kedia, DIG (eastern range) V Siva Prasad Ganjala and I visited the tea estate on Sunday for the second time to take the stock of the situation,” he added.

Nimbalkar said that the incident happened inside the tea estate premises which lacked surveillance system or security.

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Teok Tea Estate, located 22 km from Jorhat, is a tea garden under the Amalgamated Plantations Pvt Ltd (APPL), an enterprise carved out of Tata Tea Limited. It has two centrally-run hospitals to provide healthcare facilities to its workers.

The last rites of Dutta was performed on Sunday, sources told EastMojo. The doctor is survived by his wife, son and a daughter.

According to sources, the doctor was assaulted following the death of a patient who was under treatment at the garden hospital. “They alleged that the doctor arrived later,” sources said.

“Dutta reached the hospital around 3 pm and till then the injured worker, Somra Majhi, succumbed to his injuries. The garden workers got angry and thrashed Dutta and the welfare officer of the estate Jiban Kurmi before locking them inside a room,” said sources, adding: “Police came and rescued the duo. Kurmi was released after treatment of minor injuries,” sources added.

When contacted, the factory assistant manager told EastMojo that he was in Jorhat on leave and is not aware of the details of the incident. Messages sent to him seeking tea estate manager’s number failed to attract any response.

Meanwhile, the Jorhat district administration has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident. Confirming the same, Jorhat deputy commissioner Roshani A Korati said, “An ADC rank officer has been given the responsibility to conduct the magisterial inquiry and submit report within 7 days.”

Meanwhile, the Jorhat chapter of IMA has called for a 24-hour strike in the district to protest the gruesome killing of a veteran doctor and underline the need to address the security of doctors.

The strike will start at 6 am on September 2 and end at 6 am on September 3.

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