Thousands of government doctors have gone on strike in Uttar Pradesh, crippling medical services in India's most populous state, reports say.

The doctors stayed away from work on Tuesday in protest against the arrest of 24 of their colleagues last week following a violent confrontation with a ruling party legislator.

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The doctors say the legislator's supporters assaulted them after an altercation. The police, however, say the arrested doctors had pelted stones at the legislator, injuring him on the head.

The doctors are demanding that the state government act against the legislator and that the local police chief be removed for his "highhandedness".

The strike by the government doctors has hit outdoor and emergency services at government hospitals across the state.

Source: Agencies