Junior doctors across West Bengal on Friday continued their strike for the fourth day, and were joined in demonstrations by doctors from around the country. The ongoing strike has paralysed services in most of West Bengal’s government hospitals.
The doctors have placed six demands before the Mamata Banerjee-led government as a precondition to call off their strike. This includes the demand that Banerjee visit the injured doctors, condemn the attack on them, withdrawal of all false cases against doctors and an improvement in hospital infrastructure and facilities.
The Indian Medical Association said doctors will hold protests from Friday to Sunday, and called for a nationwide strike on the third day. It also wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah seeking a new law to protect doctors.
The junior doctors at the hospital went on a strike on Tuesday, a day after the family of a patient allegedly attacked two interns. Soon, the protests spread to state-run medical facilities across the state.
6.46 pm: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan writes to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, asking her to “personally intervene to resolve the current impasse”, reports ANI. He asks Banerjee to take steps to provide a “secure working environment” to doctors in the state.
“The entire country is being adversely affected due to developments in West Bengal and therefore ensuring an amicable end to the agitation will be beneficial,” Vardhan says in the letter.
6.10 pm: Over 100 doctors of various state-run hospitals in West Bengal tender their resignations, PTI reports quoting officials.
5.47 pm: The doctors demand that the chief minister visit the injured doctors at the hospital and her office release a statement condemning the attack on them, reports PTI. “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,” the doctors say in their list of demands.
The doctors are also demanding unconditional withdrawal of all “false cases and charges” which were imposed on junior doctors and medical students across West Bengal, better infrastructure at health facilities and armed police personnel at medical facilities.
5.42 pm: Doctors demand unconditional apology from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and set six conditions for the state government to withdraw their strike, PTI reports. “We want unconditional apology of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the manner in which she had addressed us at the SSKM Hospital yesterday [Thursday],” said Dr Arindam Dutta, a spokesperson of the joint forum of doctors. “She should not have said what she had.”
5 pm: Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abesh Banerjee, who is a medical student, on Thursday came out in support of protesting doctors, The Hindu reports. He held up a banner saying: “You say we are Gods!! Why Treat us like Dogs?”, at KPC Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata.
4.48 pm: The Indian Medical Association has launched a three-day nationwide protest from Friday, PTI reports. It also announces a nationwide strike on June 17. “IMA condemns the recent incident of violence against Dr Paribaha Mukherjee who was brutally attacked by a violent mob at NRS Medical College, Kolkata and demands an exemplary action by the state government,” the top body of doctors in the country says. “All the legitimate demands of the resident doctors in West Bengal should be accepted unconditionally.”
4.30 pm: The Alliance of Doctors for Ethical Healthcare appeals to the West Bengal government to address the concerns of doctors quickly, The Indian Express reports. It also asks the Banerjee-led government to take strong action against the perpetrators of the violence at the Kolkata hospital, and take measures to provide a safe working environment for all doctors.
4 pm: Over 1,200 resident doctors at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh have held a demonstration, PTI reports. The protest lasted from 8 am to 1 pm, and OPD services were hit. However, Dr Uttam Kumar Thakur, president of the Association of Resident Doctors at the PGIMER, said all emergency services functioned normally.
3.45 pm: Filmmaker Aparna Sen meets protesting doctors at NRS College and Hospital, ANI reports. She says Banerjee should come there and speak to the doctors. “If you felt bad due to someone’s behaviour, please forgive them,” Sen adds. “Do you think it’ll be good for Bengal if they will leave our state?”
3.22 pm: The Doctors Forum Society at Sir Ganga Ram hospital in New Delhi issues a statement: “All doctors of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital are fully in support of our colleagues in West Bengal and strongly protest against growing tendency of violence against doctors, all private OPD clinics at the hospital will remain closed today.
3.01 pm: Doctors of the Resident Doctors’ Association at AIIMS, Delhi, work wearing helmets as a mark of protest against “worsening of violence against medical doctors in West Bengal”, ANI reports.
2.24 pm: The Calcutta High Court refuses to pass interim order on the strike by junior doctors in state-run hospitals, reports PTI. It asks West Bengal government to persuade them to rejoin work
2.22 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee threatens to stop allowing students from other states to study undergraduate medical courses in government-run medical colleges, reports The Telegraph. She says her government will stop issuing domicile B certificates. Candidates whose parents live in Bengal are entitled to get domicile B certificates. “If tomorrow I start Domicile A, Domicile B not there, at least 20 per cent more of our boys and girls will get chance,” she said. “I will do it. I will get that enacted.”
2.18 pm: The Calcutta High Court asks West Bengal government to submit details of what steps have been taken after a doctor was attacked in Kolkata by next Friday, reports ANI. The court was hearing a plea by Kunal Saha of People for Better Treatment. Saha sought that the doctors’ strike be declared illegal.
1.17 pm: At least 14 doctors from Sagar Dutta Medical College in Kamarhati, 67 doctors from Birbhum district hospital in Suri and five from North Bengal Medical College in Siliguri have resigned, reports News18.
1.11 pm: Doctors across the government and private hospitals in Telangana stage token protests, say reports.
1.10 pm: Doctors of civil hospital in Ludhiana hold a symbolic protest against the attack in Kolkata, reports Hindustan Times.
1.09 pm: Theatre personality Kaushik Sen also visits the hospital to express solidarity with the movement, reports The Times of India.
1.07 pm: Actor-director Aparna Sen visits NRS Medical College and Hospital. “I would like to request the state chief minister to please come here and talk to the junior doctors,” she says, according to News18. “You head the health ministry. Don’t you think that you should come here and talk to these junior doctors? My earnest request to you is to meet them here without any condition. Do you think that it will be good for Bengal if they will leave our state?”
1.06 pm: Doctors at RG Kar Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata resign en masse, reports The Times of India.
1.04 pm: Doctors in Bengaluru protest against the violence in West Bengal.
12.20 pm: Deputy superintendent of NRS Medical College and Hospital Dr (Maj) Dwaipayan Biswas says they are yet to accept the resignation letters of the principal and the medical superintendent. “They are yet to be relieved from their duties,” he tells News18. “Till the time they will come to the hospital to discharge their normal duties.” The principal, Professor Saibal Mukherjee, and Medical Superintendent and Vice Principal Sourav Chatterjee e-mailed their resignation to the director of medical education on Thursday night.
12.18 pm: The Indian Medical Association says it will ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to bring out a central law against such violence, according to NDTV.
12.17 pm: AIIMS medical superintendent DK Sharma says emergency services will continue to function normally today, reports NDTV. “The outpatient department and diagnostic services will largely remain suspended today,” he adds.
12.11 pm: Health Minister Harsh Vardhan says he will ask West Bengal chief minister not to make this an issue of prestige. “She gave the doctors an ultimatum, as a result they got angry and went on strike,” he tells ANI. “Today, I will write to Mamata Banerjee ji and will also try to speak to her on this issue.”
12.10 pm: Members of the Resident Doctors’ Association of AIIMS meet Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan over violence against doctors in West Bengal, reports ANI.
11.56 am: Patients and their relatives wait outside the OPD at AIIMS, Delhi.
11.55 am: Doctors in Nagpur Government Medical College stage protest over violence in West Bengal, reports ANI.
11.54 am: Doctors in Chhattisgarh demand justice.
11.50 am: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan says the government is committed to the safety of doctors, reports ANI. “I appeal to doctors to hold symbolic protests only and continue to carry out their duties,” he adds.
11.40 am: Doctors at Jaipuria hospital in Jaipur wear black bands as a mark of protest.
11.39 am: Members of Indian Medical Association, Trivandrum, hold protest.
11.38 am: Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors joins the nationwide protest. “The incident was clearly a targeted assault,” outfit president Prashant Chaudhary tells ANI. “This has now become a law and order issue. We express solidarity to the seriously injured doctors. We will abstain from providing our routine services from 8 am to 5 pm today, but at the same time we will make sure to inform the administration so that Outpatient Department treatment (OPD), Operation Theatres (OT) and wards keep running.”
11.36 am: Patients face difficulties as resident doctors of AIIMS, Delhi, are on strike. “My mother’s dialysis was scheduled for today, we were told to go and get it done from somewhere else,” a patient’s relative told ANI.
11.34 am: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accused the striking junior doctors at SSKM Hospital in Kolkata of verbally abusing her, reports the Hindustan Times. “I went to the emergency section where they could have talked to me, but the language they used when I was there and the manner they abused me,” she said. “Had somebody else been there in my place, some other action would have followed.”
11.32 am: Kolkata Mayor and West Bengal minister Firhad Hakim’s daughter criticises Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for badly handling the onging doctors’ strike. In a Facebook post, Shabba Hakim says doctors have the right to peaceful protest and safety at work. “As a TMC supporter I am deeply ashamed at the inaction and the silence of our leader,” she says.
11 am: Junior doctors across West Bengal on Friday continued their strike for the fourth day. The ongoing strike has paralysed services in most of West Bengal’s government hospitals.
The junior doctors at the hospital went on a strike on Tuesday, a day after the family of a patient allegedly attacked two interns. Soon, the protests spread to state-run medical facilities across the state. On Thursday, the agitating doctors defied Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s ultimatum to return to work by 2 pm. Banerjee alleged that the protestors were outsiders and a conspiracy hatched by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Communist Party of India (Marxist).