Resident doctors, who have been boycotting work as a protest against delay in college allotments after the National Entrance cum Eligibility Test postgraduate medical exam, on Monday alleged that they were brutally thrashed, dragged and detained by the Delhi Police, The Indian Express reported.

The protest, led by the Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association, has been going on for several days as the counselling process for NEET has been delayed repeatedly due to a clutch of cases in the Supreme Court over reservations for the economical weaker sections. The delay in counselling has left nearly 50,000 medical aspirants in the lurch, according to The Wire.

During Monday’s strike, 50 doctors, including the chief of the Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association, were detained near ITO in the afternoon.

“There is no respect left for Covid warriors,” said Anuj Aggarwal, general secretary of the resident doctors’ association of Safdarjung Hospital. “We are shocked and in disbelief at what happened today. Both male and female doctors were dragged on the road. Several people were injured, some had lacerations from being dragged, others got hit against the barricades, and still other received injuries to their hand when the bus door was closed on it.”

Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central district) Rohit Meena claimed that several personnel were also injured during the protest. “They came to protest and tried to stop the traffic movement,” he alleged. “We tried to stop them and they then started marching towards the Supreme Court. We again stopped them after discussing with them.”

The police said 12 protestors were detained and released later, according to PTI.

In the evening, more than 2,500 resident doctors were reportedly detained at the Sarojini Nagar police station while they were marching towards Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya’s home.

The Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association warned of a complete shutdown of medical services after the police action. The doctors expect their seniors and consultants to join the protest, but the decision is not yet known.

“The violence has brought together everyone from across the country,” said Dr Sunil Duchania, vice-president of the Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association. “Earlier some were pitching in with some work in the hospitals, but now there will be a complete shutdown of services.”

The association called it a “black day” for the medical fraternity. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences Resident Doctors’ Association supported the Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association. In a statement, the former called for a complete shutdown of medical services across the country from Wednesday.

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra shared videos of the face-off between the doctors and the police. They extended their support to the protesting resident doctors.

“Showering flowers was just for show, in reality injustice was being showered,” Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet. “I am with the Covid warriors in their protest against the Central government.”

Vadra urged citizens to support the protesting doctors. “There is no need for false PR, the doctors need their right and respect,” she wrote on Twitter.