Doctors across the country have joined protests over violence against medical practitioners as the demonstrations in West Bengal entered the fourth day. The medical fraternity in West Bengal has been protesting since Tuesday after two doctors were seriously injured in an alleged attack by the relatives of a patient who died at NRS Medical College and Hospital in the city.
The leading doctors' body, Indian Medical Association (IMA), has called a nation-wide strike on June 17 in solidarity with protesting doctors in West Bengal. The doctors' body had declared Friday as 'All India Protest Day'.
On Friday morning, junior doctors at AIIMS centres in Delhi, Mumbai and others states joined the protests. Their counterparts in other hospitals and medical colleges of New Delhi, Odisha, Chandigarh, Goa, Rajasthan, Maharashtra have also joined the protests.
The doctors are demanding better security in government hospitals. The matter has taken a political colour after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee blamed the BJP and CPI(M) for instigating the protests by junior doctors. She has warned strict action if the doctors do not resume work.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has appealed to the doctors all over the country to end their agitation and return to work. He has asked the doctors to hold symbolic protests and resume work so that the patients do not suffer.
Vardhan also wrote to Banerjee to find an 'amicable end' to the stir. In his letter, the Union Health Minister asked Banerjee to not turn a sensitive matter into a 'prestige issue'.
Here are the LIVE updates from doctors' strike across India:
08:09 pm: West Bengal Governor, Keshari Nath Tripathi said he has tried to contact Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. "I have tried to contact the CM, I have called her, till this moment there is no response from her, if she calls on me then we will discuss the matter. I have called her, let her come," the West Bengal Governor said.
West Bengal Governor, Keshari Nath Tripathi: I have tried to contact the CM, I have called her, till this moment there is no response from her, if she calls on me then we will discuss the matter. I have called her, let her come. #DoctorStrikepic.twitter.com/3xvKoY6yZPâ?? ANI (@ANI) June 14, 2019
7:50 pm: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardan calls for a law to make attack on doctors a non-bailable offence with at least 12 years of imprisonment.
"Heinous repeated attacks on doctors across India esp WBengal have led to this situation.Govt must pass a Law to make any attack on Docs a non-bailable offence with min 12 yr jail. Draconian Clinical Establishment Act that treats Docs as criminals must be withdrawn," Harsh Vardhan wrote in a tweet.
Heinous repeated attacks on doctors across India esp WBengal have led to this situation.Govt must pass a Law to make any attack on Docs a non-bailable offence with min 12 yr jail. Draconian Clinical Establishment Act that treats Docs as criminals must be withdrawn @drharshvardhanpic.twitter.com/DPwV9sTb2jâ?? Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) June 14, 2019
6:52 pm: The Indian Medical Association calls for a nation-wide strike on June 17. The strike is in solidarity with junior doctors in West Bengal who are protesting against a recent incident of violence against their two colleagues.
6:50 pm: Junior doctors in Telangana hold protests in support of their counterparts in West Bengal.
6:48 pm: Junior doctors in Rajasthan wear black bands and handsets to show solidarity with the protests being observed by their colleagues in West Bengal.
6:46 pm: Protesting doctors in West Bengal demand Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's unconditional apology and set six conditions for the state government to withdraw their stir.
6:44 pm: Doctors at major government-run hospitals in Chhattisgarh staged protests in solidarity with the ongoing agitation by junior doctors in West Bengal. Around 400 junior doctors of Dr B R Ambedkar Memorial Hospital, Raipur staged a protest. Senior doctors of the hospital did not take part in the stir, but attended their work wearing black bands as a mark of support to their junior colleagues.
6:42 pm: Government doctors in Uttar Pradesh wear black bands to express solidarity with their protesting colleagues in West Bengal.
6:39 pm: Union Helath Minister Harsh Vardhan writes to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee regarding the ongoing strike by junior doctors in the state.
Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan writes to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on ongoing doctors' strike in the state, asking her to 'personally intervene to resolve the current impasse.' pic.twitter.com/nW2NpPfstFâ?? ANI (@ANI) June 14, 2019
6:22 pm: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee will meet a panel of top doctors from Kolkata today to end to discuss the issue. The meeting is likely to begin soon.
6:20 pm: A PIL has been filed in Supreme Court seeking safety and security of government doctors and hospitals.
6:15 pm: Total 119 doctors of North Bengal Medical College & Hospital, Darjeeling, have resigned over violence against doctors in the state.
6:00 pm: "Over 1,200 doctors in Tripura, mostly in government services, are wearing black badges while doing their duties in all the hospitals and two medical colleges," All Tripura Government Doctors' Association General Secretary Rajesh Choudhuri said.
5:45 pm: "Mamata Banerjee has done so much for Bengal, but I am sorry to say that I do not support the way she spoke to the doctors. She must have spoken to them humbly because threats do not get anything done. There is no harm or no shame in saying sorry...That will not hamper her popularity," said Aparna Sen.
5:30 pm: Services at the state-run Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) and its facilities across the state were partially affected on Friday as many doctors went on a one-day strike.
5:15 pm: Around 400 junior doctors in Dr BR Ambedkar Memorial Hospital, Raipur staged a protest from 8 am to 2 pm in the premises of the medical facility.
As part of the protest, the doctors stayed away from attending out-patient departments (OPDs) and operation theaters (OTs), Bhagwati Chandra Verma, president, Junior Doctors Association (JUDA) said.
5:00 pm: Total 27 doctors of North Bengal Medical College & Hospital, Darjeeling, have resigned over violence against doctors in the state.
4:45 pm: A group of doctors also met Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and apprised him about the medical fraternity's demand of ensuring safety and security of doctors in face of any violence in hospital premises. Vardhan has assured the doctors that he will look into their demands.
4:30 pm: The Calcutta High Court refused to pass any interim order on the strike by junior doctors at state-run hospitals. A division bench comprising Chief Justice TBN Radhakrishnan and Justice Suvra Ghosh also directed the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government to apprise it of the steps taken following the attack on the junior doctors at a city hospital on Monday night. Hearing a PIL in the matter, the Chief Justice reminded the protesting doctors of the 'Hippocratic Oath' they take to ensure the welfare of all patients.
4:15 pm: West Bengal Education minister Partha Chatterjee appealed to striking junior doctors to "keep aside" misunderstandings and withdraw their agitation, which entered its fourth day on Friday. In a Facebook post, Chatterjee said, that all their grievances can be solved through discussions with the government.
4:08 pm: Around 4,500 resident doctors in Maharashtra stopped work on Friday in solidarity with the ongoing junior doctors' protest in West Bengal. The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) said junior doctors at government hospitals in the state will not perform surgeries or attend to out-patient departments (OPDs) between 8 am and 5 pm Friday. Emergency services remained unaffected.
4:05 pm: Doctors condemned 'threats' of strict action by West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. "We are not outsiders and this agitation is spontaneous... We are contemplating mass resignations," said Dr Arindam Dutta, spokesperson of the joint forum of junior doctors.
4:02 pm: Services were totally disrupted in outdoor facilities and other departments of state-run medical colleges and hospitals and a number of private medical facilities in Kolkata. However, emergency services were available at one or two hospitals of the city.
4:00 pm: Junior doctors in West Bengal continue their strike for the fourth day. They have been agitating since Tuesday demanding security for themselves in government hospitals, after two of their colleagues were attacked and seriously injured allegedly by relatives of a patient who died at the NRS Medical College and Hospital. The protesting doctors paid no heed to warning by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that strict action will be taken if they do not return to work.