To begin with, it was Deepavali time. While more than 15,000 doctors were participating in the strike, the State Health Department officials did not seem to do anything about it until the situation worsened. The senior officials were reportedly celebrating Deepavali even as many of the government doctors were on fast to get their demands accepted.
The celebrations were well publicised even as the public was affected at a few government hospitals and primary health centres. This became a discussion among government doctors who criticised the officials’ attitude while talking to this reporter.
While that could have been planned, the tragic death of Sujith Wilson trapped in a borewell ensured that the Health Minister was completely unaware of the progressing strike.
With the Health Minister out of the city for the rescue operation of Sujith in Tiruchy, the strike took even longer due to his absence as the officials could not take any decision on their own.
After wide criticism, the officials were seen to be clarifying to the media that they had invited the doctors for a talk and the department was open to all discussions. However, only after the Health Minister got back to Chennai, the doctors proceeded for the talks and withdrew the strike.
— Shweta Tripathi, Chennai