Refusing to intervene with a judicial order in the ongoing junior doctors' strike in Kolkata, the Calcutta High Court, on Friday, has reportedly refused to pass interim order on the strike by junior doctors in state-run hospitals. It has also directed the West Bengal Government to persuade the doctors to rejoin work.
The protest which now gained national interest was started by junior doctors across Kolkata two days ago, as they were protesting against the physical assault of an intern doctor at the NRS Medical college in the hands of the family of a patient who had died on Monday, June 10. Junior doctors across the city including private firms extended their support for the protest, bringing the out-patient departments of many hospitals to a standstill.
Following the strike West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addressed the protest on June 13, warning the doctors to resume their duties within the next four hours and threatened to have their hostels vacated if they refused to do so. She called the matter a conspiracy by the BJP and the Left.
Coming out in support of their Kolkata colleagues, Resident doctors at the AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital worked with bandages on their heads in a symbolic protest on Thursday and called for the suspension of all non-emergency services, including OPD, on June 14 to protest against the violence in Kolkata.
Earlier in the day, the protest spread nationwide with doctors in Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai joining the protests. Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) have decided to observe strike on Friday over violence against doctors in West Bengal tweeting that they would be shutting down OPD, Ward and academic services.
With West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee attaching political intentions to the protest, the doctors on strike have clarified their intentions saying: 'We aren't allowing any political party to hijack our movement. This is a doctors' movement. We are not outsiders.'
The Centre has also extended its support to the doctors with Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan Singh appealing to West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to not to turn the sensitive matter of the doctors' protest into a prestige affair.
He also added that he will be writing not only to Mamata Banerjee but also to the CMs of all states and health minister to ensure that the doctors and patients are given adequate protection in the medical premises.
"I will write a letter to West Bengal CM and I am thinking to write to every CM and state health ministers to ensure that everyone in medical institutions, hospitals are provided security. I appeal to the doctors to call off the strike," he added after the Resident Doctors Association of AIIMS met him over the ongoing violence against doctors.