BSMMU medical interns demonstrate demanding increase in allowances

BSMMU medical interns protest at Shahbagh intersection on 16 July, 2023UNB

Postgraduate medical interns at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) have held a protest in Dhaka’s Shahbagh area, demanding a higher monthly allowance, timely payments, and clearance of dues.

They demanded a raise in their monthly allowance -- from current Tk 20,000 to Tk 50,000.

The protesters also called for a sit-in at Shahbagh intersection in the morning at the behest of the Postgraduate Private Trainee Doctors’ Association.

However, police personnel deployed in the area ahead of the demonstration stopped them from marching towards Shahbagh intersection.

In a protest against police interference, they locked up all the gates of BSMMU at around 12:00 pm. Later, they came out of the hospital and staged a protest, blocking the road in front of BSMMU.

Witnesses said, at around 1:00 pm some of the protesters came out of the hospital and tried to block Shahbagh intersection but police stopped them.

Tension escalated between physicians and the police, resulting in a chaotic situation. During the protest, the physicians tried to obstruct the road, leading to the Science Lab from Shahbagh.

Witnesses, including a nearby vendor, said that in response to the road blockade, police resorted to using batons to disperse the physicians.

Protesting interns said that police have been interfering in the protest since they announced their demand publicly. Postgraduate physicians get Tk 20,000 as allowance per month which is insufficient to meet their basic needs, they said.

They also said that they are not allowed to see patients outside BSMMU.

In an attempt to pacify the protesting students, Sharfuddin, vice-chancellor of BSMMU, made an appearance at approximately 3:50 pm.

Addressing the demonstrators, he stated, “In response to your demands, I have successfully arranged for the payment of your outstanding dues. Today, I held a meeting with the relevant officials to discuss the issues you have raised. If you heed my advice and return to the hostel, I anticipate being able to provide you with positive news soon. However, if you choose not to follow my instructions, you will need to find your own means to resolve the situation.”

He asked the students to give him seven days to resolve the situation and urged them to get back to their studies.

The protest and blockade, lasting four hours, resulted in significant traffic congestion heading towards the Science Laboratory. The tailback caused considerable delays for commuters in the area.