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Doctors strike affecting health services

Doctors in major metro cities, including Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai, are on protest in solidarity with counterparts in Kolkata where a standoff is underway between the Mamata Banerjee government and junior doctors.

Defying a four-hour ultimatum by Mamata Banerjee, junior doctors in West Bengal had yesterday refused to end their stir till they are provided adequate security in government hospitals. The CM has alleged that opposition BJP and CPI(M) are instigating the protesters as part of a “conspiracy” and giving communal colour to the issue.Union Minister Harsh Vardhan appeals to the doctors to resume services and carry out a symbolic protest instead as he assures that the government is committed to the protection of the doctors.

Services have been affected over the past three days in emergency wards, outpatient facilities and pathological units of many state-run medical colleges and hospitals and a large number of private medical facilities in the state due to the strike by the doctors who are protesting after two of their colleagues were attacked and seriously injured at the NRS Medical College and Hospital here by a mob following the death of a patient.

The India Medical Association has declared “All India Protest Day” on Friday against the incident and expressed solidarity with the striking doctors. The opposition attacked Banerjee over the impasse, with the BJP accusing her of acting as “Hitler”.

There was high drama as the chief minister reached the state-run SSKM hospital here at around noon amid slogans of “we want justice” by the doctors.

“I condemn the agitation. The junior doctors’ strike is a conspiracy by the CPI(M) and the BJP,” Banerjee, who also holds the health and family welfare portfolio, said and directed the police to clear the premises and only allow patients to stay.

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