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Government Medical College workers and doctors hold placards in protest against the assault on an intern doctor in West Bengal, in Jammu, Monday, June 17. Photo: PTI

Junior docs in Kolkata call off strike, give govt time to act on demands

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Agitating junior doctors in Kolkata on Monday evening (June 17) called off their protest after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accepted their demands and assured them to fulfil their demands. The agitating doctors have also decided to give the state government some time to act on their demands.

While thanking all those who supported their protest, junior doctors of NRS Medical College at a press conference on Monday evening urged the public to refrain from assaulting healthcare professionals, however grim be the situation.

It is now expected that normalcy will return in hospitals across the country and doctors will call off their strike and resume their work. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has decided to hear on Tuesday a petition seeking safety and security to government doctors across the country.

Banerjee held discussions with 31 representatives from among the junior doctors, who were on strike for the last seven days after an intern doctor, Paribaha Mukhopadhyay, was assaulted brutally on June 10 by a mob of goons following the death of an elderly patient at the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata.

She also asked the police to give the doctors the details of action to be taken against the accused. After the meeting, the doctors said the talks were fruitful and promised to call off the strike once they reach the NRS hospital.

The agitating doctors finally accepted the chief minister’s invitation to the state secretariat, Nabanna, for discussions after she allowed the presence of live press coverage of the meeting. The doctors had asserted again that they will not attend the meeting unless audio visual media were allowed inside the meeting room.

Besides the chief minister, top police and administrative officials were present in the meeting.

Healthcare services were affected throughout the last week after doctors across the country came out in support of the Kolkata doctors and participated in the 24-hour nationwide strike called by the IMA on Monday.

Earlier, the agitating doctors had also demanded the chief minister’s unconditional apology after she branded a section of the protesters as ‘outsiders’.

Banerjee listened to the grievances and suggestions of the junior doctors and promised infrastructural development in hospitals and medical colleges.

She also suggested installation of collapsible gates at emergency sections and police security for doctors. She also directed Kolkata Police commissioner Anuj Sharma to deploy a nodal police officer in every hospital.

Further, she pitched the idea of having public relation officers in three shifts for proper communication with the relatives of the patients.

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