Be it political or non-political violence, West Bengal has been tyrannized over the past few weeks. Junior doctors who have been agitating since Tuesday after two of their colleagues were attacked and seriously injured at the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata have decided to elude the Chief Minister’ ultimatum and continue their strike until their demands are met.
The agitating doctors on Thursday confirmed they will continue till their demands related to their security in government hospitals are met. General sentiment is that state government is trying to intimidate the medical fraternity into resuming normal services without making any assurances regarding their security.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today displayed her insensitivity, when she ordered the doctors to resume work within 4 hours or face action. Upon her visit to SSKM Hospital, Banerjee condemned the doctors for going on strike and asked them to resume work or else leave the hostel. “They are outsiders. The government will not support them in any way. I condemn doctors who have gone on strike. Policemen die in the line of duty but the police don’t go on a strike”, said Banerjee.
The junior doctors at the state-run SSKM Hospital staged protests after doctors and interns at the NRS Hospital were brutally attacked by a mob on the premises of the hospital after a patient named Mohammed Sayeed reportedly died of natural causes.
As the protest began attacks against doctors further escalated and mobs attacked students and interns at the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital as well. In the incident at Burdwan, the involvement of local goons was strongly suspected by the besieged doctors.
The matter, as expected, did not remain confined to Burdwan and the NRS Hospital alone. On Wednesday night, Calcutta National Medical College was attacked by unidentified goons and two rooms in one of the hostels was burnt down allegedly, with the help of kerosene bombs.
The doctors in Hyderabad have come out in support of the doctors in Bengal to hold protests in Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS). Doctors affiliated to Resident Doctors Association (RDA) at NIMS and Telangana Junior Doctors Association (TJUDA) were among the doctors to hold the protests. RDA Convener Dr G Srinivas has demanded stringent action against the culprits while doctors at AIIMS, Delhi have also backed the junior doctors’ strike in West Bengal.
Meanwhile, a team of doctors met Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi at Raj Bhavan over the issue and conveyed that CM’s reaction to their protest was unexpected.
“We will continue with our agitation till our demands are fulfilled. We have spoken to the Governor. He listened to us and hopefully will speak to the chief minister,” one of the junior doctors told reporters outside the Raj Bhavan after meeting him.
“We will continue with our agitation till our demands are fulfilled. Our demands are simple… proper security with armed policemen at all hospitals, arrest of culprits involved in the NRS attack on Saturday under non-bailable sections”, said another junior doctor furthering, “We did not expect the chief minister to say what she did. Listening to her, we felt like we were the culprits.”
Meanwhile, Banerjee who is also in charge of health and family welfare portfolio came down heavily on the doctors in her meeting with the Governor. “I condemn the agitation. The junior doctors’ strike is a conspiracy by the CPI(M) and the BJP,” she asserted.