It all started with a suicide. A hard working woman who strived to reach for social upliftment by becoming a nurse had been fooled by her employer. Trapped by debt bondage, 22-year-old Beena Baby killed herself on the morning of 10 October 2011 in Mumbai. This desperate act moved the nurses all accross the country, so when another nurse in distress said that she was caught in a similar tricky situation, planning to also put an end to her life, some colleagues decided to get together and try to help her.
By so doing they the discovered that these two nurses were not isolate cases. Many people take loans to afford for their study, expecting a good job. But the wages are never enought to both sustain their life and repay the bank. Thanks to an unfair bond system, the hospital they work in prevents them from leaving to look for better employment opportunity.
Outraged by these facts, Jasmin and his colleagues started a strike that ended successfully. He then created a Facebook page that gave birth to the United Nurses Association (UNA). The need was such that UNA branches spouted in hospitals all accross Kerala :
"As word of this success spread, UNA units started coming up all over Kerala, and soon about 100 hospitals had a wing of the association. They faced resistance, of course. Private hospital managements began using a variety of tactics, throwing nurses out, while trying to alternately bribe and browbeat UNA ringleaders."
How did AIMS, the hospital of the Mother of Compassion, react when its turn came?
"Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, for example, the medical college and specialty hospital set up in Kochi by the godwoman Mata Amritanandamayi, sacked the local UNA president N Sreekumar and transferred two office bearers to Mysore within 24 hours of the union taking shape on its premises"Amma keeps on talking about peace and love but the following dramatic unfoldment doesn't prove her right :
"When top UNA leaders protested, they were called for a discussion. On 5 December, six of them including Jasmin and Sudeep Krishnan arrived at the hospital. In Jasmin’s words, “We were cordially welcomed by an employee of the HR department. We followed him inside. He entered a corridor and disappeared. A group of people in saffron dhotis suddenly emerged from behind and attacked us brutally. They had weapons and were shouting that they would kill us. My left arm was broken. Our state committee member Bibu Poulose’s right knee was shattered to pieces. He had to go through multiple surgeries.”"How can such a horrible crime remain unpunished? The answer is simple, it has always been the same. Mata Amritanandamayi and her institutions are always innocent, for devotees or anonymous individuals must always be blamed for each questionable move that incidentally occurs to defend her :
"The police registered a case and the investigation is still underway. On their part, the hospital authorities deny any role in the attack. “Some goons from outside may have done it,” says Sasi Kalariyal, Amrita’s public relations officer."Are we really supposed to believe that a group of expected visitors can be so brutally assaulted in the compounds of an hospital without drawing the attention of the security guards? Can such an institution be taken seriously?
Yet, the nurses went on stike and were apparently successful, although Amma tried to use her devotees to control the damages for free and asked for help from the police as it can be seen in the famous video report.
"As Amrita discovered, however, the hospital’s staff were not ready to shrug and move on. As many as 1,300 of its nurses went on strike, and it had to suspend operations. “The ICU and CCU functions were not interrupted,” says Krishnan, “We were careful about that.” The hospital management, which had initially refused all negotiation and even tried using Amritanandamayi devotees as nurses, yielded on the strike’s third day and agreed to implement the demands within three months."
The following video is less popular but its comment is explicit : "Nurses are not slaves.............................". The sight of policemen rushing to the crowd of strikers with truncheons, reminds us that Mata Amritanandamayi's institutions look more worldly than godly. They are capitalistic ventures like the others, requiring low paid labour to make great profit.
The fight is still going on year after year.
One more strike occured in October 2013.
Another one took place January 2014.