Protesting doctors reject Mamata's invite for talks; demands an unconditional apology first

PTI Kolkata, West Bengal, India Jun 15, 2019, 01.30 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( ANI )

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The doctors, who struck work for the fourth day Friday, refused to meet the chief minister earlier demanding an unconditional apology from her.

Striking junior doctors turned down West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s invitation for a meeting at the State Secretariat, which was called to resolved the impasse, and continued their protest for the fifth consecutive day on Saturday.

The doctors, who are protesting against the assault on two of their colleagues at NRS Medical College and Hospital, had on Friday sought an unconditional apology from Banerjee and set six conditions for the state government in order to withdraw their stir.

“We are not going to the Secretariat upon the invitation of the Chief Minister for the meeting. She will have to come to the Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital and deliver an unconditional apology for her comments made during her visit to the SSKM Hospital on Thursday,” Arindam Dutta, spokesperson of the joint forum of junior doctors, told PTI. “If she can go to the SSKM, she can also come to the NRS... or else this agitation will go on,” Dutta said.

Banerjee, who visited the state-run SSKM Hospital on Thursday amid slogans of “we want justice”, had contended that outsiders were creating disturbances in the medical colleges and the ongoing agitation is a conspiracy by the CPI(M) and the BJP.

On Friday night, the agitating junior doctors declined to attend a meeting called by the Chief Minister at the state secretariat, saying it was a ploy to break their stir.

After seeing that the protesting doctors did not turn up on Friday night, Ms Banerjee asked the students to come to Nabanna, the state secretariat, at 5 pm on Saturday, senior physician Sukumar Mukherjee said.

Mr Mukherjee along with other senior doctors, who were not part of the agitation, met Ms Banerjee on Friday.

They held a two-hour-long meeting with the Chief Minister at the secretariat to find a solution to the ongoing problem.

Notably, over 300 senior doctors across various state-run medical college and hospitals resigned from their services in solidarity with their agitating colleagues.

Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi last evening invited Banerjee to Raj Bhawan for a meeting to resolve the crisis. Ms/ Banerjee, however, did not respond.

“I tried to contact the chief minister. I called her up. Till this moment there is no response from her. If she calls me up, we will discuss the matter,” the governor told reporters after visiting Paribaha Mukhopadhyay, the doctor who was assaulted, at a hospital on Friday night.

Meanwhile, resident doctors of AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi have given a 48-hour ultimatum to Banerjee to meet the demands of the agitating doctors, failing which they said they would go on an indefinite strike.