The crisis over pending salaries in North Delhi Municipal Corporation-run hospitals deepened on Monday after senior doctors went on a day-long casual leave en masse and threatened to go on an indefinite strike from Tuesday, PTI reported.

“If our demands are not met, we will go on indefinite strike from tomorrow,” said RR Gautam, President of the Municipal Corporation Doctors’ Association.

The doctor’s body, which has more than 1,200 members, had on Saturday threatened that its members from North Delhi Municipal Corporation hospitals would go on a mass casual leave if their pending salaries of the last three months were not released.

“The association already has given sufficient time to authorities concerned to resolve the issue and pay our salaries,” it had said, according to PTI.

They had earlier threatened to go on an indefinite strike from October 19, but it had later decided to defer the strike in “public interest”.

Meanwhile, resident doctors of the Hindu Rao Hospital, also under the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, demonstrated over unpaid salaries in the Capital’s Connaught Place area, and burnt an effigy of Ravana, reported India Today. Doctors of Hindu Rao Hospital, Kasturba Hospital and Rajen Babu Tuberculosis Hospital had staged a protest on Thursday at Jantar Mantar.

Five of Hindu Rao’s resident doctors are sitting on a hunger strike since Friday, according to PTI.

Earlier this month, the Delhi government had removed Hindu Rao Hospital from the list of designated Covid-19 hospitals in view of the ongoing protests.

‘Supreme Court should take suo motu action,’ says IMA

On Monday, the Indian Medical Association also demanded that the payments should be done, calling the situation “unfortunate”. In a release titled “Banana Republic”, the doctors’ body said healthcare workers, especially doctors, are a national asset and their “humiliation by denying” legitimate salaries is nothing but “state-sponsored violence”.

The Supreme Court had specifically directed that salaries of doctors and healthcare workers should be paid in time. It seems the writ of the highest court of the land does not bind these officials who administer these hospitals, the Indian Medical Association said in the statement.

“The IMA and the medical profession trust that there is adequate reason for the court to initiate suo motu contempt proceedings against the administration of Hindu Rao Hospital,” it said.

As many as six hospitals, 63 maternity and child welfare centres, 17 polyclinics and seven maternity homes come under the North Delhi Municipal Corporation. These medical facilities employ at least 1,000 senior doctors, 500 resident doctors and 1,500 nursing officers, according to The Indian Express.

Meanwhile, amid the impending strike, the Capital on Sunday recorded 4,136 fresh Covid-19 cases, the highest single-day spike in 38 days, while the death toll mounted to 6,258, PTI reported.

Follow today’s updates on the pandemic here