With healthcare facilities in West Bengal being crippled because of the doctors’ protest against the Mamata Banerjee government failing to meet their demands, the resident doctors of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the West Bengal chief minister on Saturday to accept the demands of the agitating junior doctors failing which they will be forced to go on an indefinite strike.
''We issue an ultimatum of 48 hours to West Bengal Government to meet the demands of the striking doctors there, failing which we would be forced to resort to an indefinite strike,'' the Resident Doctors Association, AIIMS was quoted as saying by ANI.
The protesting doctors have found immense support from their colleagues across the country. A delegation from the Indian Medical Association (IMA) met Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan over the ongoing strike of doctors in West Bengal, on Saturday.
Delhi: Indian Medical Association (IMA) delegation meets Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan over the ongoing strike of doctors in West Bengal. pic.twitter.com/0GDIcaDHQs— ANI (@ANI) June 15, 2019
The agitating doctors, who have demanded Banerjee's unconditional apology, has set six conditions for the state government to withdraw their four-day-long stir that disrupted healthcare services across West Bengal.
"We want unconditional apology of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the manner in which she had addressed us at the SSKM Hospital yesterday. She should not have said what she had," a spokesperson of the joint forum of junior doctors, Dr Arindam Dutta, said.
Listing the six conditions, the agitators said the chief minister will have to visit the injured doctors at the hospital and her office should release a statement condemning the attack on them.
"We also want immediate intervention of the chief minister. Documentary evidence of judicial enquiry against the inactivity of the police to provide protection to the doctors at the Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital on Monday night should also be provided," he said.
Two junior doctors were assaulted on Monday night by family members of a patient who died in the NRS Hospital.
They also demanded unconditional withdrawal of all "false cases and charges" which were imposed on junior doctors and medical students across West Bengal in the wake of their strike.
Earlier, Banerjee has invited four representatives of the doctors for talks at Nabanna. West Bengal Medical Education Department director, Dr Pradip Kumar Mitra, had conveyed Banerjee’s to the doctors at NRS Medical College & Hospital.
Following which the doctors held a discussion and decided not to go at Nabanna for talks.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi said he called up Banerjee to discuss the issue of junior doctors' strike but got no response from her.
Tripathi paid a visit to injured junior doctor Paribaha Mukhopadhyay at the hospital where he is undergoing treatment.
"I have tried to contact the chief minister. I have called her up. Till this moment there is no response from her. If she calls me, we will discuss the matter," he told reporters after visiting Mukhopadhyay at the hospital.
Mukhopadhyay is one of the two junior doctors attacked by relatives of a patient, who died at the NRS Medical College and Hospital on Monday night, triggering the ongoing agitation by medicos across the state.
The Governor had met representatives of the doctors on Thursday.
In the wake of protests by the medical fraternity in support of agitating doctors in Kolkata, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has also urged Banerjee not to make this sensitive matter a "prestige issue" and to ensure an "amicable end" to the stir.
In a letter to Banerjee, the Union minister urged her to ensure an "amicable end" to the protests and provide a secure working environment for doctors.
He also appealed to the agitating doctors, particularly in West Bengal, to hold symbolic protests and resume work so that patients do not suffer.
"Strike is certainly not the best way to protest. Patients should not be deprived of immediate and emergency healthcare facilities," the Union health minister said.