An association of medical consultants in Mangaluru has released a statement supporting the actions of Mangaluru police personnel entering Highland Hospital on Thursday after violence in the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests.
CCTV footage showed police barging into Highland Hospital and chasing people with batons. Multiple witnesses and opposition leaders also said that police used teargas shells near the intensive care unit of the hospital. A Highland hospital source had earlier told TNM that the police, who followed some people who threw stones into the hospital, even mistook the caregivers there as protesters.
The Association of Medical Consultants (AMC), Mangaluru, in its statement said, "We, doctors often take the help of police when there are incidents of abuse or violence in hospitals and police have promptly brought the situation under control. How is it any different when the same police enter hospital to tackle miscreants who create a law and order problem on the street but enter hospitals to hide?"
The statement by AMC contradicts a statement by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) which condemned police forcefully entering hospitals to crack down on protesters agitating against CAA.
In a statement dated December 22, the IMA had said, â€śNo violence is acceptable in a hospital. Hospitals are sacrosanct and are exempted even in a war zone.â€ť It added that everyone has the right of access to medical care. â€śThe government and its establishment have no right to deny anyone their right of access. The visuals of a policeman violently opening an ICU door by stomping is a clear indication of the New Truth and New Standards,â€ť the statement said, emphasising that IMA stood for retaining hospitals as â€śsafe zonesâ€ť.
â€” Amba (she/her) (@MumbaiCentral) December 23, 2019
But the AMC in Mangaluru, in its statement, rejected suggestions that the IMA was referring to incidents in Mangaluru. "We strongly deny any allegations that police actions amounted to denial of healthcare access to the needy. In fact, in our inquiry at the incident site, no interference was reported," reads the statement by AMC. It added that the hospital officials, including doctors, have not lodged a complaint with the association.
The IMA had said in its statement that hospitals are exempted from attack even in war zones. Something to this effect has been outlined in the Geneva Conventions. They provide for the possibility of setting up hospital and safety zones to attend to and shelter the wounded, sick and civilians, far removed from military operations. According to a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1970, the places and areas designated for the protection of civilians â€śsuch as hospitals or similar refuges should not be the object of military operations.â€ť