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Protesting Doctors Refused to Turn Up at Meeting at State Secretariat Despite Several Requests, Says Mamata

But agitating junior doctors countered the chief minister's claim and said she was trying to mislead people since no representatives from any of the hospitals had met her on their behalf.

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated:June 15, 2019, 9:58 PM IST
Protesting Doctors Refused to Turn Up at Meeting at State Secretariat Despite Several Requests, Says Mamata
Doctors protest to show solidarity with their counterparts in West Bengal

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday claimed that a section of junior doctors in the state are willing to resume work and that the government will provide them all support.

But she did not specify whether the doctors who met her at the state secretariat are from the Nil Ratan Sarkar (NRS) Medical College and Hospital or from other government hospitals.

It was at NRS College and Hospital where a mob of more than 200 people had assaulted junior doctors on the night of June 10, allegedly after a 75-year-old succumbed during treatment. The deceased's kin had blamed the medicos for negligence.

The strike entered its fifth day on Saturday amid reports of mass resignations of doctors.

“Don’t go into whether they are from NRS Medical College and Hospital or from SSKM Hospital. For me, junior doctors are junior doctors, irrespective of hospitals. They are willing to resume their duty and I welcome them. Slowly, you will see others also resuming their work,” she said at a press conference.

However, agitating junior doctors at the NRS Medical College and Hospital countered Banerjee’s claim, saying that the chief minister was trying to mislead people as no representatives from any of the hospitals had met her on behalf of the junior doctors.

“We assume that the chief minister is not lying. Let her declare the names of the representatives who met her today. But we would like to clarify that no team of junior doctors met her,” said a junior doctors on condition of anonymity.

At the state secretariat, Banerjee said it was unfortunate that the junior doctors had refused to meet her at her office despite repeated requests.

“You will not fix my time and day. I went to SSKM Hospital and requested them to withdraw the strike. For me, the issue was important. For the last two days, I was waiting for hours but they didn’t turn up. They initially agreed, but later refused. Maybe someone or some political parties are trying to influence the junior doctors. I would like to request them, please don’t fall into a trap, please resume duty,” she said.

One of the key demands of the agitating doctors has been that Banerjee should visit them at NRS Hospital. “We did everything to convince them, but they are adamant,” said Banerjee. “Our state secretariat is the highest place for a meeting. But they didn’t came despite giving an assurance. They have every right to take their stand, we have our right to take our own stand.”

Banerjee claimed that she was humiliated and pushed when she visited SSKM College and Hospital earlier. “My senior health department officials were also misbehaved with, but we didn’t take any action,” she said. “I don’t want to spoil their careers. A single FIR will ruin their careers. So far, we are patiently handling the situation. I am not in favour of invoking the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA).”

Banerjee said she had spoken to Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi on Saturday. “If they (the striking junior doctors) don’t want to meet me, they can meet the governor or the chief secretary,” she said.

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