Agitating junior doctors in Kolkata on Sunday said that they want to end the impasse and talk to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on the condition that the meeting is held in the open in the presence of media.
“We want immediate end to this impasse by discussion with the CM, which, to maintain transparency, shouldn’t be behind closed doors, but open to media under camera coverage,” said a spokesperson of the protesting doctors after the General Body meeting in the afternoon.
Protest by doctors entered the sixth day on Sunday as agitating junior doctors maintained there will be no work at any medical college and hospital in West Bengal until they are given full protection.
Agitating doctors had on Saturday evening turned down an invite for a closed-door meeting with Banerjee at Nabanna (the state secretariat), reiterating their request to the CM to visit them at NRS for an open discussion.
Addressing the media on Saturday evening, a spokesperson said that they are open for dialogue.
“If the chief minister extends one hand we will extend 10 of ours… we are eagerly waiting to break the deadlock,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said that the doctors are eagerly waiting to start duty but there is “no such honest initiative to find a solution” from the Chief Minister’s side. The protesting doctors also said that none of their colleagues met Banerjee, as was claimed by the CM at her 6 pm press conference.
Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) would be holding a 24-hour-long nationwide protest on Monday.
All Non-Essential Services, including OPDs, will be closed starting from 6 am. The IMA will also stage a ‘dharna’ at IMA headquarters in Delhi starting 10 am on Monday.
In Delhi, scores of doctors at government and private hospitals held demonstrations by boycotting work, marching and raising slogans. They also met Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and apprised him of the medical fraternity’s demand of ensuring safety and security of doctors in face of any violence in hospital premises.
The IMA launched a three-day nationwide protest starting Friday to express solidarity with the doctors at Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital (NRSMCH) in Kolkata who stopped working in all state-run medical institutions following an assault on two interns.
By Saturday, over 300 doctors had tendered their resignations in protest of an assault on junior doctors at NRS by relatives of a 75-year-old patient who died on Monday night. The family of the patient alleged of medical negligence.
Banerjee had on Saturday said at a press conference that her government has accepted all the demands of the protesting doctors, requesting them to resume work.
She also said her government has not invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) even after five days of the strike by the junior doctors.
“We have the laws, but we do not want to use them… We are not going to take any stringent action against any of the agitating junior doctors and hamper their career,” she said.
Meanwhile, the opposition BJP, CPI-M and Congress in Bengal lashed out at Banerjee “for not being serious in resolving the impasses over doctor’s strike” and asked her to resolve the crisis.