Indian radiologists set to go on strike

Escalating their ongoing protest over a law aimed at reducing gender-specific feticide, radiologists in India will go on strike and not operate their ultrasound systems as of September 1, according to an article published in the Hindu Business Line.

An indefinite strike will continue until the Indian government resolves the concerns of the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (IRIA), according to the article. The IRIA is protesting the "harassment" of radiologists who do not have even a "remote connection with sex determination."

While the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act prohibits fetal gender determination through techniques such as ultrasound, a minor clerical error in the act's text could result in machines being sealed, registration canceled, cases filed in court against the radiologist, and imprisonment, IRIA President Dr. O.P. Bansal told the Hindu Business Line.

Noting that IRIA members have helped to identify those engaging in illegal practices, Bansal said the government should have a graded approach to punishment for minor clerical errors such as not wearing an apron or not keeping a copy of the act in offices, rather than raids and confiscation of equipment. Such raids and equipment confiscations can destroy a radiologist's reputation, even if the person is later found to be not guilty, he said in the article.

The strike will not apply to emergency and in-hospital imaging services, according to the IRIA. The strike is also being supported by the Association of Medical Consultants, Indian Medical Association, and Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Societies of India.

A previous strike plan by the IRIA's branch in the district of Maharashtra was called off in June after the government indicated it would work to resolve the IRIA's complaints.

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