Over 300 doctors resign in West Bengal

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Over 300 doctors resigned from government hospitals in West Bengal today demanding better security at hospitals across India and expressing solidarity with their Bengal counterparts whose strike continued for the fourth day.

The Indian Medical Association has called for a black day on Monday across India. This followed after the senior faculty at the NRS Medical hospital submitted mass resignation after the attack on a colleague earlier this week in Kolkata.

Junior doctors in several states boycotted work, affecting medical services. Blaming the Mamata Banerjee government for the doctors’ strike in Bengal, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan appealed to her to “not make it a prestige issue”. The striking doctors have said they want an unconditional apology from Banerjee to withdraw their protest, the report also says.

The junior doctors in Kolkata have been agitating since Tuesday demanding adequate security in government hospitals after two of their colleagues were attacked and seriously injured by relatives of a patient who died at the state-run Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital in the city.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and relatives of patients urged both sides to end the impasse which has crippled the state’s healthcare system.

Doctors in Delhi’s AIIMS and other prominent hospitals, in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana as well as other places, especially AIIMS, stayed away from work, demanding justice for their Bengal counterparts and enhanced security for practitioners.

However, in Bengal, the situation worsened as in the wake of cease-work at state-run hospitals, over 200 doctors of four medical colleges, including the NRS Medical College and Hospital – the epicentre of the protests after a junior doctor was beaten up by attendants of an old patient who died, submitted mass resignations even as patients and their kin appealed for an end to the agitation.

Terming West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is like a “guardian”, a “mother”, renowned actor-filmmaker Aparna Sen appealed to her to “change her stance a bit” and take a more humane view of the threats faced by doctors.

Sen was part of a group of intellectuals from the state who on Friday stood by the agitating junior doctors at the NRS Medical College and Hospital.

Banerjee’s nephew Abesh Banerjee, who is a medical student, on Friday came out in support of the protesting doctors.

Abesh Banerjee, whose Facebook bio describes him as the President of KPC Medical College and Hospital, was seen at a rally holding a placard that read: “You say we are Gods!! Why Treat us like Dogs?”

Earlier, Kolkata Mayor and state Minister Firhad Hakim’s daughter, a doctor, criticised the government’s handling of the ongoing doctors’ strike and said medicos had the right to “peaceful protest” and “safety at work”.

In a Facebook post, Shabba Hakim asked people to question why “goons were still surrounding hospitals and beating up doctors”.

Amid the crisis, Union Health Harsh Vardhan appealed to both the agitating doctors to end their strike and Chief Minister Banerjee to withdraw her ultimatum against the doctors in her state, which triggered strikes across the country.

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