Doctors Strike LIVE Updates: Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has written to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on ongoing doctors' strike in the state. He has asked her to "personally intervene to resolve the current impasse" and take steps to ensure secure working environment for the doctors.
Hearing a PIL on doctors' strike in West Bengal, the Calcutta High Court on Friday gave West Bengal government seven days to respond on issue. The court asked the state what steps were taken by the government to end the impasse. It also said that state will have to put an end to issue and find a solution.
Calling for pan-India protest, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) announced a nationwide doctors' strike on Monday (17 June) to protest the attack on an intern at a Kolkata hospital. According to India Today, the top doctors' body has said that no essential medical services should be provided on 17 June and that non-violent protests will continue.
Reports say that the Calcutta High Court has refused to pass an interim order against the striking doctors. The court has instead asked the state government to hold talks with the doctors and persuade them to return to work.
A formal complaint was lodged on Thursday with the West Bengal Medical Council (WBMC) seeking immediate intervention and to take exemplary disciplinary action against the striking doctors as held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and Calcutta High Court. A new PIL filed by People for Better Treatment (PBT) against the ongoing doctors’ strike will also be heard by the Chief Justice bench at Calcutta High Court today, according to PBT president Dr Kunal Saha.
Intensifying the protest, at least 80 doctors at Kolkata's RG Kar Medical College and Hospital submit mass resignation. They are demanding an unconditional apology of CM Mamata Banerjee for her statement yesterday.
After meeting the doctors' delegation, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said that he will speak to all state's chief minister and would also urge Mamata Banerjee to not make it a prestige issue and resolve the crisis at the earliest as the entire nation was suffering because of it.
Union Heath Minister Harsh Vardhan condemned the violence against doctors in Kolkata and urged patients and their attendants to exercise restraint. The Minister said he will take up the matter of doctors' security with all chief ministers and asked the doctors to ensure that essential services to the people are not disrupted
Junior doctors in West Bengal continued with their agitation for the fourth day Friday, hampering regular services in all state-run medical colleges and hospitals, and a number of private hospitals. Emergency services were available at only one or two hospitals, including Nil Ratan Sircar (NRS) Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata
Resident Doctors of the Institute Of Medical Sciences, BHU Varanasi have showed solidarity toward the attacks on doctors in West Bengal by suspending their services.
Junior doctors across West Bengal on Thursday refused to end their stir till they are provided adequate security in government hospitals and defied the deadline set by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who alleged that opposition BJP and Communist Party of India (M) were instigating the protesters as part of a "conspiracy" and giving communal colour to the issue.
Services have been affected over the past three days in emergency wards, outpatient facilities and pathological units of many state-run medical colleges and hospitals and a large number of private medical facilities in the state due to the strike by the doctors who are protesting after two of their colleagues were attacked and seriously injured at the NRS Medical College and Hospital here by a mob following the death of a patient.
The India Medical Association has declared "All India Protest Day" on Friday, 14 June, against the incident and expressed solidarity with the striking doctors.
The opposition attacked Banerjee over the impasse, with the BJP accusing her of acting as "Hitler".
There was high drama as the chief minister reached the state-run SSKM hospital here at around noon amid slogans of "we want justice" by the doctors.
"I condemn the agitation. The junior doctors' strike is a conspiracy by the CPI(M) and the BJP," Banerjee, who also holds the health and family welfare portfolio, said and directed the police to clear the premises and only allow patients to stay.
Stating that patients were suffering, she gave the doctors a four-hour deadline to rejoin service, but later revised it to 2 pm. Warning of strict action against those who do not resume work, she said they will have to vacate hostels.
Despite Banerjee's ultimatum, the agitating doctors continued their stir. A joint platform of doctors met Governor K N Tripathi, who appealed them to resume duties.
"We will continue with our agitation till our demands are fulfilled. Our demands are simple, proper security with armed policemen at all hospitals, arrest of culprits involved in the NRS attack on Saturday under non-bailable sections. We did not expect the chief minister to say what she did," a member of the delegation said.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief, however alleged that outsiders had entered medical colleges and hospitals to create disturbance and that she was "abused" by the doctors at the hospital.
"The BJP, with help from the CPI(M), is indulging in Hindu-Muslim politics. I am shocked to see their love affair," Banerjee said and alleged "BJP chief Amit Shah is encouraging his party cadre to create communal tension and run propaganda on Facebook."
The TMC and the BJP are locked in a bitter turf war in West Bengal, which has been rocked by post-poll violence, with Banerjee accusing the saffron party of trying to foment trouble in the state to topple her government. The BJP has claimed that Banerjee is targeting it as she is rattled by its major gains in Lok Sabha elections.
In a Facebook post, the chief minister highlighted the plight of patients in hospitals due to the ongoing strike and claimed the government was cooperating with doctors.
She described the injuries sustained by the two junior doctors at NRS Medical College and Hospital as "unfortunate".
Five persons have been arrested in connection with the incident, Banerjee said, adding that an inquiry has also been ordered to look into complaint of negligence during treatment, resulting in the death of the patient.
"Cancer patients, kidney patients, accident victims, even children coming from distant places are suffering for not getting treatment," she said.
Banerjee also wrote to senior doctors of all medical colleges and hospitals in the state and requested them to continue taking care of patients.
The opposition parties slammed the CM for her alleged "threats" to agitating doctors and sought her immediate resignation as the health minister.
BJP leader Mukul Roy alleged Banerjee has become authoritarian and is behaving like "Hitler".
Accusing the TMC supremo of politicizing the issue, CPI (M) central committee member Sujan Chakraborty said Banerjee does not seem interested in ending the impasse.
State Congress president Somen Mitra also criticised the chief minister and said the state government should take appropriate measure to ensure safety and security of doctors.
NRS Medical College and Hospital principal Saibal Mukherjee and medical Superintendent cum vice-principal Prof Saurabh Chattopadhyaya have resigned for "failing to overcome the crisis" at the medical institution.
Union Heath Minister Harsh Vardhan condemned the violence against doctors in Kolkata and urged patients and their attendants to exercise restraint. He said he will take up the matter of doctors' security with all chief ministers and asked the doctors to ensure that essential services to the people are not disrupted.
Healthcare services at private and government hospitals in the national capital are likely to be affected on Friday with scores of doctors deciding to boycott work for a day.
Several resident doctors at the AIIMS, Delhi worked with bandages on their heads as a symbolic protest.
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