Published On: Thu, Jun 13th, 2019

Bengal doctors’ strike continues as medicos reject Mamata ultimatum

Kolkata: Services in a large number of state-run hospitals in West Bengal continued to be paralysed for the third day on Thursday after striking junior doctors rejected a four-hour ultimatum from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to withdraw the agitation and restore normalcy.

We will carry on our movement as our demands haven’t been fulfilled

Facing noisy demonstrations from the striking medicos at SSKM Hospital, an angry Banerjee even threatened to promulgate the stringent Essential Services Maintenance Act, but the junior doctors refused to budge and instead asked her to apologise for “casting aspersions” on them.

The junior doctors also demanded she come to the NRS Medical College and Hospital – the epicentre of the protests.

Banerjee visited the state-run Seth Sukhlal Karnani Memorial (SSKM) Hospital around noon, as the protesting doctors continued to raise slogans, shouting “We want justice”.

“The Chief Minister’s words are laced with threats. The cease-work could have been controlled had she paid a visit here and given a patient hearing to our demands. We will carry on our movement as our demands haven’t been fulfilled,” one of the protesting doctors at NRS said.

Banerjee’s harsh words resulted in the resumption of emergency services at the SSKM, where senior doctors took charge, but there was a hardening of posture on the part of the striking junior doctors, who lashed out at the Chief Minister for having called them “outsiders”, “urban Naxals” , “CPI(M) cadre” and “BJP workers”.

They held a general body meeting and decided to continue the strike.

With the strikers unrelenting, Banerjee urged senior doctors to run the hospitals “smoothly and peacefully”.

“Please take care of all patients. The poor people are coming from all districts. I will be honoured and obliged if you all please take full care of the hospitals,” Banerjee wrote to the senior doctors.

Meanwhile, the protesting doctors at the NRS alleged they were attacked by hoodlums in a bid to break the agitation. One intern was injured.

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