Mamata Banerjee accepts doctors' demands, requests to resume work
As the doctors' strike continued for the sixth day, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday requested them to resume work, adding that the state government accepts all their demands. Banerjee's statement comes as junior doctors refused to hold meetings at the state secretariat, adamant that their conditions for the state government be met with. They also demanded an unconditional apology from Banerjee.
'We've accepted all their demands,' said the CM
"We've accepted all their demands. I had sent my ministers, principal secretary to meet the doctors, waited for 5 hours to meet doctors delegations yesterday & today, but they did not come. You have to give respect to the constitutional body," she said. "We never arrested a single person. We will not take any police action. Health services cannot continue like this," she added.
Banerjee appeals doctors to resume work in letter
Here are the striking doctors' six demands:
Meanwhile, here are the demands of the doctors: CRPF deployment at hospitals for staff's safety. Implementation of the Doctor's Protection Act. Urgent intervention in Kolkata doctor's assault case. Unconditional apology from Banerjee. Better health infrastructure and services at government hospitals. Evidence and police action details in Kolkata doctors' assault case. Judicial probe against police inaction. Unconditional withdrawal of false cases against doctors.
Banerjee had canceled meeting with one of the interns injured
Earlier on Saturday, Banerjee had canceled a meeting she had scheduled with Dr. Paribaha Mukhopadhyay, who was one of the two interns critically injured during the assault at NRS hospital. State health secretary and MoS Health were also supposed to attend the meeting.
Here's why doctors refused to a meeting at state secretariat
Earlier, doctors had rejected a proposal for a closed-door meeting with the CM at the state secretariat on Saturday. A spokesperson said, "We feel highly insecure and apprehensive regarding our representatives meeting with the CM behind closed doors. That's why we're not sending any representatives to the Chief Minister's Office to attend the meeting," They demanded that Banerjee visit NRS hospital to hold talks.
WB Doctors' strike incited protests in other states as well
Since Tuesday, when junior doctors first went on strike, some hospitals suspended Out-Patient Departments and Emergency services. Thereafter, the protests spilled over to other states as well, causing a nationwide stir. Notably, in response to Banerjee, Resident Doctors' Association AIIMS issued a 48-hour ultimatum threatening an indefinite strike if the CM failed to meet the doctors' demands.
Over 300 doctors in West Bengal resigned in protest
To add to the mounting pressure, between Thursday and Saturday, over 300 government-employees doctors had resigned from their posts in a show of solidarity with the junior doctors who were on strike. However, Banerjee said that the resignations did not hold value as per law.
Quick recap: How the Mamata v/s Doctors stand-off transpired
Earlier on Thursday, Banerjee issued a 48-hour ultimatum to all protesting doctors to end the strike, threatening action. Doctors in West Bengal went on strike to protest an assault on their colleagues by angry relatives of an elderly man who died during treatment at NRS Medical College and Hospital. Two interns were critically injured during the assault as relatives pelted stones on Monday.