West Bengal doctors strike: Mamata’s tough talk backfires, medical services hit as agitation spreads across India. 10 points

West Bengal doctors assault: Defying Chief Minister Mamata Banerjees warning to resume work or face action, junior doctors across West Bengal intensified their protests as their strike entered day 4 on Friday. With the state government refusing to negotiate with the striking doctors who are protesting the attack on one of their colleagues, and no end in sight to the ongiong stalemate, the protests today spread to other states, affecting medical services across the country. Doctors in the state are demanding adequate security since two of their colleagues at NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata were brutally beaten up by the family of a patient who lost his life while on treatment. On Thursday, the junior doctors in the hospital defied Chief Minister Mamata Banerjees warning to either return to work or face action. She even visited the hospital and spoke to patients who were left unattended due to the strike. We have taken action and police have made arrests, On Friday morning, protests by doctors gathered pace across the country with doctors in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Ranchi, Thiruvananthapuram, among other cities, joining the strike in solidarity with their protesting colleagues in Kolkata. A number of doctors at AIIMS in Delhi were seen working with bandages on their heads and arms as a mark of protest. The Delhi Medical Association has also called for a strike asking for tough action against the accused. Doctors in government hospitals also took out a candlelight march at Jantar Mantar on Thursday West Bengal doctors strike spreads, Calcutta HC steps in: Top Developments * The doctors strike in Kolkatas NRS Medical College and Hospital entered the fourth day today, where protests are on since Tuesday. The resident doctors in NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata are demanding protection for themselves ever since one of their two colleagues was seriously injured after he was beaten up by family members following the death of a 75-year old patient. *Protests seemed to be far from over as doctors across the country have come out in support of their colleagues in Kolkata in large numbers. Protests have also been held in Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Ranchi, Thiruvananthapuram, Hyderabad among other cities across the country. * A delegation of AIIMS doctors in the national capital also met Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday over violence against doctors in West Bengal. Speaking to ANI, the minister later urged West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee not to make this a prestige issue and that he will himself speak to Banerjee on the matter. She gave the doctors an ultimatum, as a result, they got angry and went on strike. Today, I will write to Mamata Banerjee ji and will also try to speak to her on this issue, he said. * With no end to the stalemate, the Calcutta High Court took suo moto cognizance of the matter and gave CM Mamata Banerjee 7 days to respond on death of the patient and subsequent protests among doctors in the state. *Close to 4,500 resident doctors in Maharashtra are on protest in support of ongoing junior doctors protest in West Bengal. As per Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), junior doctors at government hospitals will stay away from work will not perform surgeries or attend to out-patient departments (OPDs) between 8 am and 5 pm on Friday. It, however, maintained that emergency services will not remain affected. *On Thursday, doctors in AIIMS Delhi were seen working, covering their heads with helmets and bandages. Even in Jaipur doctors are seen continuing with their works wearing black bands in their hands. *As protests refused to die down in Kolkata, the principal and superintendent of NRS Medical College have tendered their resignations. This come hours after CM Mamata Banerjee urges for support from senior doctors to continue to look at patients, saying nobody should be left unattended. At least 80 doctors have resigned following Mamatas warning to doctors to return to work. *On Thursday, an ultimatum by Banerjee backfired as protesting doctors refused to budge over her threat and her bid to politicise the agitation. I condemn the agitation. The junior doctors strike is a conspiracy by the CPI(M) and the BJP, she had said yesterday. Meanwhile, on Thursday, West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi also appealed to junior doctors to return to their duties. A team of doctors had met him at the Raj Bhavan and informed him about the assault on doctors allegedly by a patients relative who had died at the NRS medical college and hospital last Saturday. * Resignations continue on Friday, with two doctors at North Bengal Medical College Hospital, Darjeeling and 16 doctors from RG Kar Medical College Hospital, Kolkata tendering their resignations. The Indian Medical Association has also declared All India Protest Day Friday against the assault on junior doctors in West Bengal. * The situation is already bad in Bihar where there are reports of 57 deaths due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in a span of 20-22 days. Hospitals are filled up with patients not only in Bihar. Things are getting tougher as resident doctors are on strike. * The incident has given fodder to the BJP which is making headway into West Bengal. Mamatas attack against the saffron party alleging its involvement in the doctors strike. The CMs attempts to pin the blame for the situation on a political conspiracy has only aggravated an already tense situation.


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