As the doctors' strike entered the fifth day, crippling medical services in 15 cities in India, West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi wrote to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday, advising her to take immediate steps to provide security to the doctors and come up with a solution to resolve the demands of the junior doctors agitating throughout the state.
This comes a day after Mamata refused to return the Governor's call after the protest spread like wildfire, leading to more than 700 doctors resigning from their posts to express solidarity with the protestors. Tripathi advised her to take the doctors into confidence about the arrangements for their safety as well as the progress made in the investigation of the assault on the junior doctor at NRS Medical college and hospital on June 10.
"It will help create a suitable atmosphere and will enable the doctors to resume their duties", the Governor's letter read.
Mamata Banerjee later said that she has spoken to the governor and appraised him about the steps taken by the state government to resolve the impasse in hospitals.
Mamata addressed a press conference on Saturday to clear the air after pressure was mounted on her to solve the issue immediately. She said, "We want a solution to the situation. We are ready to give assurance. We want the situation to be resolved. It is an unfortunate incident. We are constantly going ahead with our efforts in many ways to ensure we find a solution to the ongoing crisis. When the incident happened at night, the next very day our representative went there. I told the representative that I want to speak to the agitated doctors but they did not talk to me. I never told you about this, I was also humiliated but I never told anybody about this. Then we appealed them to get back to work, we told them the poorest in the state are suffering. Thousands of people are denied treatment because of their protests the poorest of them are dying. Those who are looking at this from one prism should know that doctors, people look at them as Gods and they are supposed to give life. I got the news that a patient is on death bed, I wanted to check if the Emergency ward was open."
She continued her tirade against the BJP, accusing them of targeting her government to create unrest.
At the press conference on Saturday, she said, "I have some information for everyone. It's about the BJP. The BJP had arrested 150 doctors when such a protest had taken place under their government in Delhi, in Rajasthan there was a crackdown on doctors when they were protesting."
"If the doctors have any more demands, we are ready to accept those demands. But here is my request, people are suffering doctors must get back to work, there are children who are dying. There is a one-sided narrative by some media outlets. What action did the government take? We have taken every action possible, every demand has been accepted," she added.
Mamata Banerjee had earlier made controversial remarks during her visit to the protest site. Initially, she asked the protesting doctors to resume their duties within four hours or else they would be evicted from their hostels, following which the agitation spread around the country. She even alleged a communal angle to the protest, fuelled by the BJP and the CPI(M), whom she claimed joined hands to conspire against her. She termed the doctors as 'outsiders', which led to widespread anger across the country, with doctors and medical students across the country protesting against the assault on the junior doctor and demanding adequate safety at the hospital premises.
(Inputs from PTI)