Doctors v/s Mamata: 300 doctors quit in West Bengal
For the last five days, doctors in West Bengal have been protesting and the strike is only intensifying with each day. Doctors are demanding safer working conditions after two medicos were critically assaulted by a mob. While Trinamool Chief Mamata Banerjee didn't do much to calm tensions, 300 doctors resigned from government-run hospitals to send a message that they won't budge this time.
A quick recap of how the protests started
On Monday, a 75-year-old patient died at Kolkata's Nil Ratan Sarkar Medical College and Hospital (NRS). His angry kin attacked doctors for 'medical negligence'. One of the doctors suffered a skull injury and is battling for his life. A day later, West Bengal doctors sat on strike. They got support from their colleagues all over India. The doctors have been demanding action against culprits.
Junior doctors thanked seniors for resigning and sending a message
As doctors took to streets, Mamata issued a deadline on Thursday, asking them to return to work. Her threat was ignored by defiant doctors. On Friday, 300 senior doctors, including heads of department of various government hospitals in Kolkata, Burdwan, Darjeeling, and North 24 Parganas districts, sent their resignations to the state director of the medical association. The juniors lauded their seniors' stance.
Watch: As seniors walked out, juniors clapped
Doctors want Mamata's unconditional apology
If the brutal assault on their colleagues wasn't enough, Mamata's choice of words further infuriated them. Speaking at SSKM Hospital, Mamata painted doctors as villains and hinted the strike was politically motivated. On Friday, doctors submitted a list of six demands, which includes Mamata's unconditional apology. They also want her to visit injured doctors and have demanded a statement from her office condemning the attack.
Separately, doctors also want false cases to be canceled
The doctors want documentary evidence and details of action taken against those who attacked them. They also want that all false cases leveled against agitating doctors should be withdrawn. Last but not the least, they want better infrastructure and deployment of security forces at hospitals.
Interestingly, Mamata invited doctors to talk, they said 'apologize first'
Facing flak over how she handled the grave situation, Mamata took a softer stand. She invited doctors to talk and resolve the impasse but they turned down the offer. Arindam Dutta, the spokesperson of the joint forum of junior doctors, said they won't visit the secretariat till Mamata tenders an unconditional apology. "If she can go to SSKM she can also come to NRS," Dutta said.
Separately, doctors at AIIMS called off strike but with conditions
Mamata's apathy on a serious concern has miffed doctors all over the country. On Friday, doctors at AIIMS Delhi protested and called off their strike on Saturday morning; but not before giving an ultimatum to Mamata. The AIIMS Association of Resident Doctors said they would sit on an indefinite strike if Mamata fails to meet demands within 48 hours.
Doctors will continue wearing black badges and helmets
"All resident doctors are back to work but we will continue with symbolic protest by wearing black badges, bandages and, helmets. If condition worsens we will go on indefinite strike from June 17," the president of the association said.
Mamata is also facing heat from Calcutta High Court
As the strike of doctors crippled medical facilities in the state, Calcutta High Court stepped in. The court refused to pass an order on the strike and directed Mamata's government to find a solution. Meanwhile, Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, "If one chief minister shows sensitivity and changes her behavior, it will end the suffering of patients across the country."