Will Mamata Meet Doctors at Protest Venue Today? As Impasse Continues, Medicos Give 48-Hour Deadline
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asked doctors to meet her again at 5 pm on Saturday at state secretariat Nabanna. However, the medical staff refused to accept the invitation.
Members of Doctors Association stage a protest in Ranchi on Friday. (PTI)
New Delhi: After the protesting doctors did not turn up on Friday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asked them to meet her again at 5 pm on Saturday at state secretariat Nabanna. However, the medical staff refused to accept the invitation and instead asked the CM to hold a meeting with them at the protest venue.
In an effort to find a solution to the ongoing impasse disrupting normal services at all state-run medical college and hospitals for four days, Banerjee had asked Director of Medical Education Pradip Mitra to invite three or four junior doctors to the secretariat for the meeting. They, however, refused to go the meeting.
"This is a ploy to break our unity, our agitation. We will not attend any meeting at the state secretariat. The chief minister has to come here (NRS Medical College and Hospital) and deliver an unconditional apology for the manner in which she had addressed us during her visit to SSKM Hospital on Thursday," a spokesperson of the joint forum of junior doctors said.
Condemning any form of violence against medical professionals, the apex body of doctors said its protest will continue on Saturday and Sunday as well, which will include wearing black badges, dharnas and peace marches.
The IMA has called for a nationwide strike on June 17, which will involve withdrawal of non-essential health services. The IMA said all non-essential services, including OPDs, will be withdrawn for 24 hours from 6am on June 17, while emergency and causality services will continue to function.
Amid the ongoing strike, more than 100 senior doctors of various state-run hospitals across West Bengal resigned from their services on Friday. The move came a day after NRS Medical College and Hospital Principal Saibal Mukherjee and Vice-principal Sourav Chatterjee put in their papers.
Actor-filmmaker Aparna Sen, who met the doctors at the NRS Hospital on Friday, urged the chief minister to hear out their grievances patiently and apologise for her earlier behaviour.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also expressed support for the medical fraternity's demand for a central law to check violence against health care workers in hospitals, adding that such crimes should be made non-bailable.
Amid the tension in Bengal, the Resident Doctors Association of AIIMS on Saturday gave a 48-hour deadline to the government to resolve the issue. "We issue an ultimatum of 48 hours to West Bengal Govt to meet demands of the striking doctors there, failing which we would be forced to resort to indefinite strike at AIIMS," the doctors said in a statement.
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