Three junior doctors and a fourth-year student of Burdwan Medical College and Hospital were injured on Wednesday after a mob of patients’ relatives hurled bricks at them, The Telegraph reported. The incident took place during a protest of junior doctors at the hospital’s emergency gate as part of a statewide ceasework at outpatient departments to condemn the assault on two doctors.
Mayank Agarwal, the fourth-year medical student, suffered serious eye injuries after a brick was hurled at him. He was also allegedly kicked and punched in the face. The three other doctors have minor injuries, hospital authorities said.
Junior doctors in all state-run medical institutions in West Bengal stopped work on Tuesday, a day after the family of a patient – who died at the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata – allegedly attacked two interns, Paribaha Mukherjee and Yash Tekwani. While the two interns are currently out of danger, Thursday marked the third day of the ongoing protests by doctors.
In Burdwan, at least 1,380 junior doctors and medical students were part of a sit-in at several locations around the hospital on Wednesday. “We were on a peaceful dharna when some people started hurling bricks at us,” an unnamed doctor who was part of the protests said. “They threatened to hurl acid bombs at us. We were feeling insecure.”
Initially, a scuffle broke out between the junior doctors and the relatives of patients, said an unidentified hospital official. “It soon snowballed into a clash.”
Doctors stopped work at outpatient departments and emergency wards at several government hospitals on Wednesday. A few private medical institutions and practitioners also joined the protests as a show of solidarity with the junior doctors from the government hospitals, The Times of India reported.
Even after Kolkata police commissioner Anuj Sharma formed a task force to look into the assault, the protesting doctors refused to budge and demanded the “direct intervention” from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. “We have already explained our demands in posters. CM [Mamata Banerjee] should come here,” a doctor, participating at a sit-in outside the NRS Medical College and Hospital, told ANI.
Rajiv Sinha, the state additional chief secretary (health), said that Banerjee was personally overseeing the situation. He also appealed to the doctors to withdraw their agitation.
The shutdown of medical services has directly impacted thousands of patients across the state, sparking an angry response from the general population.
Congress MP Adir Chowdhury has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to intervene. “I am drawing your attention to the grave situation prevailing in West Bengal where doctors of all medical colleges, hospitals are on strike in the wake of brutal assault on junior doctors at NRS Hospital in Kolkata,” he wrote, according to PTI. “You are requested to intervene as early as possible.”