After demanding an unconditional apology from the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the striking doctors are likely to end the deadlock this evening. Kolkata came to a standstill after the Indian Medical Association (IMA) called for a nationwide strike on Monday following three junior doctors, from NRS Medical College, being seriously injured after a dispute with a family whose relative had died . Hundreds of government-run hospitals and health care facilities were drastically affected as thousands of doctors took to the streets to voice their grievances.
The IMA described the attack on doctors at NRS as barbaric and said it reflected a national problem. The strike took a further downturn when Banerjee condemned the protesting doctors saying that the police did not strike when one of their colleagues was killed. The CM also warned that junior doctors would be evicted from hostels if they did not go back to work. This triggered a nationwide condemnation from doctors.
A spokesperson of the joint forum of junior doctors, Dr Arindam Dutta said they want an unconditional apology from Chief Minister Banerjee for the manner in which she addressed the striking doctors at the SSKM Hospital. “She should not have said what she said. She should come to the NRS Hospital to meet us.” Banerjee had alleged that ‘some outsiders had entered the medical colleges to create disturbances’. The CM had also pointed towards the BJP and CPI(M) for allegedly taking advantage of the agitation.
She has invited the protesting doctors for dialogue at the secretariat Nabanna this evening after they refused to meet her yesterday citing the invitation as a ploy to derail their agitation. The doctors have put forth their demands and conditions seeking a judicial probe into the police inaction in providing security to the doctors at the NRS Medical College hospital; documentary evidence and details of the action taken against those who attacked the doctors; and unconditional withdrawal of all false cases and charges imposed on junior doctors and medical students across West Bengal.
Reports say about 30,000 doctors, mainly from West Bengal, New Delhi and western state of Maharashtra, were on a one-day strike on Friday. The IMA asked doctors to continue the strike over the weekend followed by a nationwide withdrawal of non-essential services in all health care institutions on June 17.