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Deadlock continues in India as striking doctors refuse to call off strike

Christian Fernsby |
The protesting junior doctors in India's eastern state of West Bengal have refused to end their strike until they are provided adequate security in the government-run hospitals, officials said Friday.

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The agitating junior doctors defied Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's ultimatum and are steadfast on not resuming their work until their demands are met.

"With the continuing deadlock, the medical services in the government-run hospitals seem to be going into a deeper crisis," an official said. "Today is the fourth straight day of the strike."

On Thursday Banerjee visited the SSKM Hospital and gave four hours ultimatum to the agitating doctors to resume their duty or vacate their hostels.

However, following the ultimatum a six-member team of striking doctors' association met West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi at Raj Bhavan and submitted a four-point demand to him.

According to officials, the governor has forwarded the demand of doctors to the chief minister, urging her to end the crisis.

"The doctors are asking for the deployment of armed police forces in the hospital premises," an official privy to the development said.

Health services in many state-run medical colleges and associated hospitals in the state have been badly hit over the past three days especially in emergency wards, outpatient facilities and pathological units

The strike triggered Monday night after a junior doctor at the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata was allegedly assaulted by the relatives of a patient who had died. The doctor suffered a head injury and is in critical care at a private hospital.

Following the incident, doctors went on strike, alleging police inaction and demanding action against the guilty, besides safety of doctors.

On Thursday India's federal Health Minister Harsh Vardhan condemned the violence against doctors in Kolkata and urged patients and their attendants to exercise restraint.

Indian Medical Association directed its members in all its state branches to stage protests and wear black badges on Friday as a mark of solidarity with the striking doctors in West Bengal.

On Thursday resident doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi were seen treating patients wearing helmets and donning bandages on their foreheads as a symbol of solidarity with the doctor that was attacked in West Bengal.


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