Intended for healthcare professionals


India’s medical community rallies to help protestors injured in police violence

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 17 January 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m203

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Health professionals must call out the detrimental impact on health of India’s new citizenship laws

  1. Anoo Bhuyan
  1. New Delhi, India

As Indians challenge a new citizenship law, doctors are mobilising to organise care for people injured during protests. Anoo Bhuyan reports that many doctors also want to serve as witnesses, and deterrents, to the violence

On the cold night of 20 December, lawyers, doctors, journalists, and worried families gathered outside a police station in central Delhi. Local police had beaten protestors gathered in the largely Muslim area. The protestors had spent the day peacefully asking that the Indian government roll back a law that excludes new Muslim immigrants and threatens current Muslim residents.

As night fell, the protest turned violent. Videos show police beating unarmed protestors to the ground. Lawyers posted messages on social media reporting that police had detained many injured people but were not letting lawyers access them, nor allowing doctors to enter the police station and administer first aid.

A day earlier, police had entered a hospital in southern India, looking for protestors. They beat people, tried to break open doors, and fired tear gas inside the hospital.

Doctors soon realised that the protests and attendant police violence would require a medical response, and began mobilising.1

Harjit Singh Bhatti was one of the doctors standing at the locked gates of the …

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