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As the nationwide doctors’ protest entered its seventh day yesterday, June 17, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee held a meeting with the protesting junior doctors at Nabanna. West Bengal commissioner and DGP were also present at the meeting. Following the meeting, the protesting doctors agreed to withdraw their week-long stir.
Previously, Mamata Banerjee had lashed out at protesting junior doctors and served an ultimatum saying that the government will take action if the doctors refuse to end the agitation within a given time. However, no warning could budge the doctors.
She called the strike a “BJP conspiracy”. The doctors were protesting against their colleague being brutally beaten up for alleged medical negligence at Nil Ratan Sircar (NRS) Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata.
At this meeting, however, stating that no false cases have been registered against doctors, Mamata said that young doctors are the future and there is absolutely no intention to target them.
“I have suggested not more than two relatives inside emergency and I urge you to frame a package to set up reinforced gates at emergency departments. I suggest, there should be dedicated PR persons at district-level hospitals to interact with patients’ relatives instead of doctors doing it,” Mamata added.
She further suggested that there should be night-time vigilance and nodal police officer for every hospital to ensure the security of working doctors. “If an on-duty doctor succumbs to injury from such attacks, it is the humane duty of the government to provide job to the victim’s kin,” she said.
West Bengal Mamata Banerjee directs Kolkata Police commissioner Anuj Sharma to deploy a nodal police officer in every hospital, during the meeting with representatives of doctors at Nabanna. (File pic) pic.twitter.com/1ybWTRW7t4
— ANI (@ANI) June 17, 2019
Mamata accepted the doctors’ demand to set up ‘Grievance Redressal Cells’ in government hospitals.
Mamata was told by the joint forum of junior doctors that they were afraid to work. They demanded exemplary punishment for the people who assaulted the doctors at NRS.
Mamata said that keeping the assault in mind, adequate measures are being taken by the state government. Five people have been arrested so far.
In the meeting, the doctors demanded that Mamata should meet injured doctor Paribaha Mukhopadhyay, to which she replied, “You leave it to me on when and where I should visit, but keep in mind that it has never happened that an incident has taken place and I have not visited that spot.”
Talking to The Logical Indian, 24-year-old Pronil Roy, a final year student of Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education & Research (S.S.K.M. Hospital), Kolkata, says, “The fact that we finally had a meeting is a pretty big achievement. Honestly, Mamata Banerjee appeared genuinely committed towards solving our problem. However, we are yet to see where all this leads us to.”
“A student of SSKM, requesting anonymity, says, “Although we have finally been heard, we expected more concrete solutions. All these were only generalised assurances.”
Sanjib Mukhopadhyay, the ex-president of The Bengal Obstetrics and Gynecological Society, who has been in constant support of the junior doctors, says, “I am highly disappointed in all that has been happening, and cannot say I am satisfied until I see actions being practically taken.”
“Out of 200 perpetrators who beat up the doctor, only five have been arrested? What about the rest? What about all those people who have abused doctors over the last few years? This particular protest and agitation may be settled due to these general assurances, but I will be waiting for the larger picture.”
Anasuya Mukherjee, a junior post-graduate trainee doctor, had similar things to say. “We were finally heard. The matter may get temporarily resolved, but we are yet to see what happens in the future, she says.
“Mamata Banerjee did promise to attend to our issues, but she did not mention specifically of any stringent action that should be taken against the perpetrators in this case, or in the future. She praised the junior doctors and said how important they are for society, but will all this really create a substantial solution? We will have to wait and watch,” says Dr Angana Bhattacharjee, MBBS, from Malda Medical College And Hospital.
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