The junior doctors on strike across West Bengal have turned down Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's invitation for a meeting on Saturday evening at the Secretariat. After they refused to meet her on Friday, she called for the meeting to resolve the impasse, with the doctors' protest entering the fifth day on Saturday.
However, the doctors turned to down the chief ministers' request to meet her at the secretariat and instead demanded that Mamata should come to the Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital for the meeting.
The doctors, who are protesting against the assault on two of their colleagues at NRS Medical College and Hospital, have sought an unconditional apology from Mamata and set six conditions for the Bengal government to meet to withdraw their protest.
"We are not going to the Secretariat upon the invitation of the chief minister for the meeting. She will have to come to NRS Medical College and Hospital and deliver an unconditional apology for the comments she made during her visit to SSKM Hospital on Thursday," said Arindam Dutta, spokesperson of the joint forum of junior doctors. "If she can go to SSKM, she can also come to NRS... or else this agitation will go on."
Junior doctors in Bengal launched their protest after two of their colleagues were attacked by the relatives of a patient who died at NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata Monday night.
Meanwhile, reports said Mamata will visit Dr Paribaha Mukhopadhyay, one of the two medical interns injured, at NRS hospital on Saturday.
The chief minister, who visited the state-run SSKM Hospital in Kolkata on Thursday amid slogans of "we want justice", had claimed that outsiders were creating disturbances at West Bengal's medical colleges, and that the ongoing agitation was a conspiracy by the CPM and BJP.
AIIMS doctors' issue 48-hour ultimatum
In Delhi, resident doctors of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) issued a 48-hour ultimatum to Mamata to accept the demands of the agitating junior medicos, failing which they will begin an indefinite strike.
''We issue an ultimatum of 48 hours to the West Bengal government to meet the demands of the striking doctors there, failing which we will be forced to resort to an indefinite strike,'' the Resident Doctors Association warned.
On Friday, scores of doctors from several government hospitals in Delhi, who could not join the nationwide strike on Friday, protested in solidarity with their striking colleagues in Kolkata on Saturday. Doctors at the Centre-run Lady Hardinge Medical College and Hospital and RML Hospital, as well as at Delhi government facilities, such as Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital and DDU Hospital, boycotted work and held protests.
A majority of hospitals in Delhi had joined the countrywide agitation in support of the doctors in West Bengal on a call by the India Medical Association (IMA) and various resident doctors' associations. Outpatient departments, routine operation theatre services and ward visits had all been shut down, though emergency services and ICUs were kept functional at these hospitals.
Condemning any form of violence, especially against medical professionals in the country, the IMA, on Friday, launched a four-day nationwide protest and called for a strike on Sunday with the withdrawal of non-essential health services. The apex medical body also wrote to Home Minister Amit Shah over their demands regarding the safety of doctors at hospitals.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Jun 15, 2019 15:07:16 IST