West Bengal Doctors' strike: After four days of protests across the state, doctors have demanded an unconditional apology from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, setting several conditions for the withdrawal of their stir. The doctors in Kolkata launched state-wide protests after two junior doctors were beaten up by the family members of a patient at NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata. "We want unconditional apology of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the manner in which she had addressed us at the SSKM Hospital yesterday. She should not have said what she had," a spokesperson of the joint forum of junior doctors, Dr Arindam Dutta, said, reported India Today. Dutta was referring to a statement made by Banerjee during her visit to the hospital, where she warned the protesting doctors of a "strong action" if they didn't call off their strike. She also gave them a four-hour ultimatum and said "outsiders", supported by CPI (M) and BJP, had entered the medical college in order to create ruckus. Meanwhile, medical practitioners across the country are joining the protests, seeking better security at government hospitals.
Here are the top 10 developments that you need to know about the doctors' strike in West Bengal.
- Doctors across the country have joined to support the doctors' protests in West Bengal. The leading doctors' body, Indian Medical Association (IMA), has called for a three-day nationwide protest from Friday in solidarity with the protesting doctors in West Bengal. The doctors' body has also called for the withdrawal of non-essential health services on June 17.
- Junior doctors at AIIMS centres in Delhi, Mumbai and other states also joined the protests on Friday. Their counterparts in hospitals and medical colleges of New Delhi, Odisha, Chandigarh, Goa, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra also held protests.
- Major demands of the protesting medical practitioners' include better security in government hospitals. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has appealed to the doctors all over the country to end their agitation and return to work so that patients do not suffer. He also wrote to Banerjee to find an 'amicable end' to the stir.
- Meanwhile, emergency wards, outdoor facilities, and pathological units of many state-run medical colleges and hospitals and several private medical facilities in West Bengal remained closed for the third consecutive day on Thursday.
- The entire controversy took a different turn after Mamata Banerjee, during her visit to the SSKM hospital on Wednesday, said: "I condemn the agitation. The junior doctors' strike is a conspiracy by the CPI (M) and the BJP". She also asked the police to clear the premises and only allow the patients to stay.
- Banerjee gave the doctors a 4-hour deadline to rejoin service at SSKM but later extended it to 2 pm. She also asked the protesting doctors to vacate the hostels if they do not resume work. Despite the ultimatum given by the CM, the doctors continued their strike. Additionally, a joint platform of doctors met Governor KN Tripathi.
- Saibal Kumar Mukherjee (principal of NRS Medical College) and Saurabh Chattopadhyay (medical superintendent-cum-vice-principal) submitted their resignation on Thursday while expressing regret over their inability to end the doctors' strike.
- The BJP and the TMC are in a bitter turf in West Bengal where on one-hand, Mamata Banerjee is accusing the saffron party of inciting trouble, the BJP, on the other hand, has claimed she is targeting the party as she is rattled by its major gains in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls.
- The West Bengal CM described the injuries sustained by the two doctors as "unfortunate", adding that five persons have been arrested in connection with the incident. She said a probe had been ordered look into the complaint of the negligence of treatment, which led to the death of the patient.
- Mamata Banerjee, reportedly, also wrote to senior doctors of all medical colleges and hospitals in the state and requested them to keep taking care of the patients.
Edited by Manoj Sharma