Six days after the strike, doctors in Bengal have agreed to meet Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at a place of her choice, raising hopes for a breakthrough in the impasse. The meeting is likely to take place on Monday afternoon at Nabanna, the state secretariat.
This comes as the Indian Medical Association (IMA), the apex doctors’ body, called for a nation-wide strike of non-essential services on Monday.
Following a meeting, doctors said they would meet Banerjee if their community was adequately represented, but set a condition that the discussion should not take place behind closed doors. Representatives from 14 medical colleges are expected to be present at the meeting.
“All the hospitals must be well represented, including those from North Bengal. Moreover, the meeting should take place in the presence of the media. We will not meet behind closed doors,” the agitating doctors had said.
Banerjee is under pressure to resolve the strike, which started when two junior doctors at the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata were assaulted after a 75-year-old patient died. One of the doctors, who was beaten up, was seriously injured and is still undergoing treatment at a private hospital.
Banerjee had sought to meet the doctors on Friday and Saturday at the state secretariat, Nabanna, but the doctors turned down the request insisting that the venue be NRS.
However, doctors on Sunday appeared to soften their stand after public pressure started rising against the continued strike, especially after the government agreed to their demand of beefing up police protection at government hospitals to protect them from miscreants.
Hundreds of junior doctors had offered to resign on Friday. However, the Chief Minister said that mass resignation had little value.