Despite intense heat in Mumbai, over 500 Unani doctors from various
districts in Maharashtra sat on a day-long dharna at Azad Maidan near CST
March 29 to protest against the discrimination meted
to them by the state government. More than the soaring temperature,
however, it was the refusal by the Maharashtra Health Minister to
give time for a hearing that disturbed them the most.
"The Congress-NCP led ruling alliance
government in Maharashtra always makes big claims about the
initiatives it is taking for the welfare
of the minorities. However, its performance is actually opposite.
This is evident from the fact that the government is not ready to
give us a quota in the government job, something which is already
given in other states and agreed by its own government at the centre",
Medical Council Member (MCM) Dr. Khurshid Alam said while speaking to
The Unani doctors are fighting with
the Maharashtra government since about a year for getting a quota in the
government job in line with the one given to the Ayurvedic doctors
in the state. Today's protest at Azad Maidan was organised after the
state government failed to accept their demand. It was supported by
more than a dozen Unani doctors associations and was attended by
Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi, Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Asim Azmi, Anjuman-e-Islam
Chief Zahir Qazi, activists Teesta Setalvad, Karim Salar of Iqra
Unani College, Dr khurshid Alam, Dr Shafiq of All India Tibbia
Unaini Congress, MLC SQ Zama and others.
"This despite the fact that we have
given to the state government on several occasions in the past all the relevant documents and
notifications, which keep the Unani doctors at par with the Ayurvedic
doctors and gives us as well the job guarantee in the government
hospitals", he added.
The central government notification
considers Unani and Ayurvedic doctors at par, and in accordance with
other states have allotted job quotas for them in the government
hospitals. The Maharashtra government, though gives job quota to the
Ayurvedic doctors, doesn't extend the same to the Unani doctors.
"What is astonishing for us is that
the state Health Minister, Suresh Shetty far from meeting our
demands, does not even have time to listen to what we are telling",
"This is nothing but utter
step-motherly attitude towards the minorities, which is hallmark of
the government in Maharashtra, despite its proclaimed commitment to
work for the welfare of the minorities", Chairman of the Jalgaon
College Abdul Karim Salar said to ummid.com.
Interestingly, Arif Naseem Khan,
Minister of Minority Department in Government of Maharashtra, in a
meeting with the state officials in June 2010 had given directions
to make provision in this regard. However, almost a year after the
minister's directives, the officials have not done anything so far.