Days after traders in Kerala agreed to boycott hartals in the state in the future, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has also joined the protest and decided not to cooperate with calls for shutdown in the state anymore.
The state secretary of the IMA, N Sulphi, said that although hospitals and other essential services were excluded from hartals generally, only the emergency units of hospitals used to work on days that a shutdown was called. The other sections of the hospital remain shut and this causes a great deal of distress to people who want to come and visit on these days, the secretary said.
The Times of India reported that the association has decided to ensure that all hospitals operate entirely on hartal days. Additionally, they would also provide transport to persons who are unable to visit hospitals during hartal days.
The associations leaders in the state also said that as far as doctors are concerned, they should only organise hartals during an emergency and when they are being denied basic rights.
Kerala has been witnessing an anti-hartal wave after the state witnessed several hartals over the past 2 months. The first boycott took place when the BJP decided to organise a state-wide hartal to honour a man who had died after setting himself on fire on December 13, in front of the Sabarimala protest site in Thiruvananthapuram.
Over 36 organisations including traders and transport operators who come under the Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi have decided to boycott hartals and observe 2019 as an anti hartal year.
The organisation hopes that its decision will spark a social change and political change in the state. A final meeting of the VVES will be held in Thrissur on Januray 1. The organisation will finalise the finer details of the plan, and announce its official kick-off.