Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee who had ruled out negotiations with junior doctors who stopped work to demand better security on Friday received dollops of advice from different quarters on ending the doctors’ strike. One also came from the Calcutta High Court.
A two-judge bench of the Calcutta High Court chaired by Chief Justice TBN Radhakrishnan told the state government to persuade the striking doctors to resume work and provide usual services to patients.
The judges, who took up a request to intervene to end the agitation, did not, however, issue an formal order except asking the state to report back on the steps taken after the attack on the junior doctors at a city hospital on Monday night. The court, which also reminded doctors of the ‘Hippocratic Oath’, will take up the case again next week.
The court’s suggestion came around the same time Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan in Delhi pinned the blame for the escalation of protests by doctors on the chief minister and asked her not to make it a prestige issue.
Also read: ‘Don’t make this prestige issue’: Harsh Vardhan says Mamata’s ultimatum led to doctors’ strike
Doctors only asked her for security and demanded action against perpetrators of the violence, Dr Harsh Vardhan told reporters. “But instead, she warned them and gave an ultimatum which angered doctors across the country and they proceeded on strike,” he said.
Outpatient facilities were affected in several government-run hospitals in several cities as doctors held protests to express solidarity with their counterparts in Kolkata.
Junior doctors in West Bengal are on a strike since Tuesday after a doctor was attacked and seriously injured allegedly by relatives of a patient who died at NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata.
The Indian Medical Association has called for a nation-wide strike on June 17.
Actor-filmmaker Aparna Sen also nudged Banerjee to “change her stance a bit” and take a more humane view of the threats faced by doctors. “The Chief Minister is our guardian. I would request her to change her stance a bit on this issue and talk to the young doctors here. They are like your children. Please come here once and talk to them to sort out the problems,” she said.
Banerjee did meet the doctors demanding security yesterday but lost her cool with them after left after delivering an ultimatum to get back to work by 2 pm. In between, she also ruled out negotiations, told them about the strike was illegal even according to court verdicts and told them that they would be thrown out of their hostels if they don’t work.
Also read: ‘Like your children’: Aparna Sen urges Mamata Banerjee to change her ‘stance’ on doctors’ strike
Jun 14, 2019 16:55 IST