Nearly 3,000 junior doctors in Madhya Pradesh resigned on Thursday and said they would continue their strike even as the state’s High Court directed them to resume their duties within 24 hours, PTI reported.

The doctors had begun their strike on Monday to press the government to increase their stipend and offer free treatment to them and their families in case they contract Covid-19.

The Madhya Pradesh High Court had called the strike illegal and ordered the doctors to return to work by Friday afternoon. A division bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq Ahmed and Justice Sujoy Paul criticised the doctors for going on a strike amid the coronavirus crisis.

The judges added that the government should take action against the doctors in case they don’t report back to work within the set time period.

Dr Arvind Meena, the president of Madhya Pradesh Junior Doctors Association, told PTI that the association will move the Supreme Court against the High Court judgement.

Meena claimed that on May 6, the government had promised to fulfil the doctors’ demands but nothing was done after that. “The government has promised to raise the stipend by 24% and till they raise it to that limit, the strike will continue,” he said.

The president of the doctors’ association added that they had been on a peaceful strike since four days but the government didn’t reach out to them, The Times of India reported. “Rather, an attempt was made to mislead us by getting a petition filed in the High Court,” he added. “That’s why we tell the government that you can stop us from strike, but not from resigning.”

Madhya Pradesh Medical Education Minister Vishvas Sarang met the representatives of the doctors’ association, PTI reported, citing the state’s medical commissioner Nishant Warwad.

Warwad added that the government had already approved a 17% raise to the doctors’ stipend, and there would be more increments depending on the Consumer Price Index. The official added that treating patients was the moral duty of doctors and they were expected to go back to work.