West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday wrote to protesting doctors of medical colleges and hospitals in her state requesting them to take care of all patients.
Banerjee, who had earlier today issued a four-hour ultimatum to junior doctors to return to work, told doctors in a letter that she will be “obliged and honoured” if they take full care of patients.
“My humble regards to all of you. Please take care of all patients. The poor people are coming from all districts. I will be obliged and honoured if you all please take full care of the hospitals. Hospitals must run smoothly and peacefully,” she wrote.
“Thanks for your full co-operation,” she added.
Protests by doctors following an attack on a junior doctor at Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital entered the third day on Thursday.
Pariboho Mukherjee, a doctor, suffered serious injuries to his skull when family members of a 75-year-old patient, Mohammed Shahid, clashed with doctors alleging that the patient died because of negligence.
The protest spread to other hospitals in the state.
Banerjee was faced with sloganeering doctors when she visited the state-run SSKM hospital in Kolkata. She then gave an ultimatum to the doctors, which ended without the protesters calling off their strike.
The Bengal CM also claimed that the protest is a “conspiracy of the BJP” to create communal tension.
“In between all the disruptions BJP has brought the Hindu-Muslim issue in between. I see the CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxists) is also fanning the trouble here. I am shocked to see the friendship between CPI-M and BJP,” Banerjee told reporters in Kolkata on Thursday.
The BJP, on the other hand, has directly blamed TMC for the ruckus at the hospital.
The protest has caused hardship to patients.
When announcing the ultimatum, Banerjee pointed out that doctors cannot go on strike as they come under Essential Services Act.
“Medical services come under the Essential Services Act and the doctors cannot afford to do such protests. If the strike is not called off, we will be forced to take action after 2 pm. This will be done as per the laws laid down by the Supreme Court,” said Banerjee while addressing the media.
Protesting doctors are demanding enhanced security.
Family members of patients at the state-run SSKM Hospital also started a simultaneous protest by occupying the streets outside and blocking traffic on the AJC Bose Road crossing demanding treatment of their ailing kin.
Earlier on Wednesday, both Trinamool Congress and BJP leaders urged normalcy of health services in West Bengal and requested the hospitals to resume work.
“Not just on behalf of Trinamool Congress, but as a citizen of the country, I condemn the attack on the doctors. But one should not forget that immediate action has been taken against the culprits. They have been arrested,” Trinamool MP Abhishek Banerjee told reporters.