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Protesting doctors turn down Mamata's invite for talks

Last updated on: June 15, 2019 15:47 IST

Striking junior doctors turned down Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's invitation for a meeting at the state secretariat, which was called to resolve the impasse, and continued their protest for the fifth consecutive day on Saturday.

IMAGE: Resident doctors medical staff march and protest against the violence with doctors in Kolkata. Photograph: ANI Photo

The doctors, who are protesting against the assault on two of their colleagues at NRS Medical College and Hospital here, has sought unconditional apology from Banerjee and set six conditions for the state government in order to withdraw the stir.

 

"We are not going to the secretariat upon the invitation of the chief minister for the meeting. She will have to come to the Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital and deliver an unconditional apology for the comments she made during her visit to the SSKM Hospital on Thursday," said Arindam Dutta, spokesperson of the joint forum of junior doctors.

"If she can go to the SSKM she can also come to the NRS... or else this agitation will go on," he said.

Banerjee, who visited the state-run SSKM Hospital on Thursday amid slogans of "we want justice", had contended that outsiders were creating disturbances in the medical colleges and the ongoing agitation is a conspiracy by the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

On Friday night, the agitating junior doctors declined to attend a meeting called by Banerjee at the state secretariat, saying it was a ploy to break their stir.

After the protesting doctors did not turn up on Friday night, Banerjee asked the students to come to Nabanna, the state secretariat, at 5pm on Saturday, senior physician Sukumar Mukherjee said.

Mukherjee along with other senior doctors, who were not part of the agitation, met Banerjee on Friday.

They held a two-hour-long meeting with the chief minister at the secretariat to find a solution to the ongoing problem.

Notably, over 300 senior doctors across various state-run medical college and hospitals resigned from their services in solidarity with their agitating colleagues.

Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi on Friday evening invited Banerjee to Raj Bhawan for a meeting to resolve the crisis. Banerjee, however, did not respond.

"I tried to contact the chief minister. I called her up. Till this moment there is no response from her. If she calls me up, we will discuss the matter," the governor told reporters after visiting Paribaha Mukhopadhyay, the doctor who was assaulted, at a hospital on Friday night.

Meanwhile, resident doctors of AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi have given a 48-hour ultimatum to Banerjee to meet the demands of the agitating doctors, failing which they said they would go on an indefinite strike.

Doctors in Delhi protest over WB violence

Patients in the national capital faced hardships for the second consecutive day as protest by doctors, in solidarity with their striking colleagues in Kolkata, spread to several government hospitals, which who could not join a nationwide stir on June 14.



Doctors at the Centre-run Lady Hardinge Medical College and Hospital, and RML Hospital, and Delhi government's healthcare facilities such as GTB Hospital, Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital, Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital and DDU Hospital, boycotted work and held protests.

However, emergency and ICU services were not hampered in these hospitals.

Meanwhile resident doctors of AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital, who resumed work after having boycotted it on Friday, have given a 48-hour ultimatum to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to meet the demands of the state's agitating doctors, failing which they said they would go on an indefinite strike.

They attended patients wearing helmets and bandages on forehead as a sign of protest. AIIMS resident doctors will also take out a candle march in the campus in the evening.

Patients bore the brunt of the protest, as they faced a lot of inconvenience and had to wait for long hours at hospital OPDs.

A 28-year-old pregnant woman who visited Lady Hardinge Medical College and Hospital for follow-up check up claimed that she could not find a doctor in the OPD.

"My ultra-sound is due. I always come here for check-up but today I could not find a doctor to consult with. Now I have to go somewhere else but I have learnt that protests are on at other hospitals too. We patients are facing lot of discomfort because of this strike," she said.

On Friday, a majority of hospitals in Delhi had joined the country-wide agitation in support of the doctors in West Bengal, on a call given by the India Medical Association and various resident doctors' associations.

However, many hospitals could not join the protest on June 14 as they had not submitted the 24-hour advance notice to the government as required by protocol.

So, they are observing a bandh on Saturday, President of Federation of Residents Doctors' Association Sumedh Sandanshiv said, adding however, ICUs and emergency wings of these hospitals are functioning.

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