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Published On: Fri, Jun 14th, 2019

Doctors’ Strike: Protest Spreads Across India in Solidarity With Kolkata Medicos

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doctors-strike-759KOLKATA : West Bengal doctors’ protest entered its fourth day Friday as doctors continued to demand adequate security. In an attempt to solve the impasse, five senior doctors met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in the evening. On conclusion of the meeting, the physicians said Banerjee has invited the junior doctors to the state secretariat tomorrow for a discussion over the issue. However, the junior medicos turned down the offer.

Meanwhile, more than a hundred senior medical practitioners across various state-run hospitals tendered their resignations on Friday accusing Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of failing to tackle the situation.
The Indian Medical Association also launched a three-day nationwide protest and called for a strike on June 17 with the demand of proper security of the doctors in all hospitals. Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee reiterated that outsiders were involved in the strike by medical bodies in the state.

Earlier in the day, Calcutta High Court refused to pass an interim order on the ongoing strike and sought details of the steps taken by the Bengal government over the alleged attacks on doctors.

High Court has refused to pass any interim order on the strike by junior doctors at state-run hospitals in protest against the attack on two of their colleagues by family members of a patient. Doctors in major metro cities, including Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai, are on protest in solidarity with counterparts in Kolkata where a standoff is underway between the Mamata Banerjee government and junior doctors.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice TBN Radhakrishnan and Justice Suvra Ghosh asked the state government to persuade the striking doctors to resume work and provide usual services to patients. Junior doctors refuse CM Mamata Banerjee’s invitation saying that they are not meeting the chief minister tomorrow. They said, “She is the guardian of the state and she should come here. We are ready for the talks and we are ready to find out the solution.

The Congress today said the violence against doctors in West Bengal is absolutely reprehensible and urged the medical community to take up their duty towards the sick and hapless. ” Violence of any kind calls for a blanket condemnation. But violence against doctors, who have dedicated their lives to save and cure others, is absolutely reprehensible & unacceptable,” Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Governor, Keshari Nath Tripathi said, “I have tried to contact the CM, I have called her, till this moment, there is no response from her, if she calls on me then we will discuss the matter. I have called her, let her come”.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told CNN-News18, “Tried calling CM Mamata Banerjee many times, but she hasn’t responded. She shouldn’t make it a prestige issue.”
According to the media reports nearly 300 doctors resigned from government hospitals in West Bengal as their protest against an attack on their colleagues earlier this week in Kolkata escalated on Friday. Demanding better security at hospitals, doctors in Bengal and across India skipped work and held demonstrations.

The country’s top medical body also announced a nationwide strike on Monday. Blaming the Mamata Banerjee government for the stalemate, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan appealed to her to “not make it a prestige issue”.
“Instead of taking action against the attackers, she (Mamata Banerjee) gave the doctors an ultimatum, warned and threatened them because of which doctors of West Bengal and across the country are angry,” Minister Harsh Vardhan said, also requesting the doctors to end their strike.
The doctors in Bengal have set six conditions including an unconditional apology from Ms Banerjee and action against those who assaulted their colleagues to withdraw their four-day-old protest, news agency PTI reported.
Around 300 doctors, including the heads of departments of medical colleges and other hospitals in Kolkata, Burdwan, Darjeeling and North 24 Parganas districts, sent their resignation letters to the state director of medical education.
Ms Banerjee, whose get-back-to-work deadline of 2 pm yesterday was emphatically ignored, once again attacked “outsiders” for the doctors’ protest. A delegation of senior doctors met with the Chief Minister in Kolkata.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA), the country’s leading doctors’ body, launched a four-day nationwide protest from Friday and called a strike on Monday.  In the national capital, resident doctors at the premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Safdarjung Hospital stayed away from work. Medical services in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru were also affected by protests.
(With Agency nputs ).

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