- Doctors in Bengal have been demanding proper security at the hospital
- Mamata Banerjee will meet doctors at the state secretariat at around 3 pm
- Doctors from 14 medical colleges across Bengal will be part of the meet
After six days of strike, doctors in Bengal said they were ready for talks with the government. Junior doctors, who had been protesting after a colleague at a government hospital was assaulted by the family of a patient who died, had refused Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's appeals for talks. The doctors were demanding proper security at the hospital, an account of the action against the attackers and an apology from the Chief Minister for her remarks and refused dialogue till those conditions were met.
After a meeting on Sunday, the junior doctors of NRS Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, where the assault took place, said: "We want immediate end to this impasse by discussion with the CM, which, to maintain transparency, shouldn't be behind closed doors, but open to media under camera coverage".
The meeting between Mamata Banerjee and junior doctors will be held at a conference hall in the state secretariat around 3 pm on Monday. The event will be attended by doctors from 14 medical colleges across the state and 28 student representatives.
The doctors had gone on strike last week, and the protests had spread to other parts of the country since. On Friday, nearly 300 doctors resigned from the government hospitals in Bengal. The protest was backed by doctors in Delhi and a token strike was held even by the resident doctors of Delhi's All-India Institute of Medical Sciences.
On Saturday night, there were signs of the situation easing, as the doctors agreed to meet the Chief Minister, but wanted the meeting to be at the NRS hospital.
Earlier that day, Ms Banerjee had offered to meet them again at a closed-door session at the state secretariat. She also reminded them that her government had not invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act or ESMA even after five days of strike.
The Chief Minister had initially invoked the wrath of the doctors with her remark that the striking doctors were "outsiders" and a threat of action if the strike was not called off.
The doctors ignored her ultimatum and set conditions of their own - that security be provided to them and action be taken against the miscreants who attacked the junior doctor at the NRS hospital. Later, they expanded it to a set of six demands -- one of which was an unconditional apology from the Chief Minister.
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