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Bengal doctors' protest spreads to other cities

June 15, 2019

The junior doctors' strike called in West Bengal has not just affected services in the state-government run hospitals there but also in other parts of India. Many doctors across Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad boycotted work for a day on Friday to show support for their colleagues in West Bengal.

Doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi wore helmets and bandages as they attended to patients. Doctors in Bengal went on strike on Tuesday, after a junior doctor was assaulted at a government-run hospital in Kolkata by the relatives of a patient who died.

The doctors went against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's order and said they would not return to work until they are provided better security. Banerjee has accused the opposition parties of provoking the doctors and playing politics.

The resident doctors' association of AIIMS has asked doctors' bodies across India to join the token strike.

Emergency services will function normally as the resident doctors will purportedly continue to work as per their scheduled duties. DK Sharma, Medical Superintendent, AIIMS

On the other hand, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) asked doctors at various states to stage protests and wear black badges in solidarity with West Bengal doctors. It also asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to bring out a central law against such violence. The Delhi Medical Association also called for a statewide medical shutdown on Friday. The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors called a one-day strike in the state. "We are shutting down our OPD, ward and academic services from 8 am to 5 pm today. Emergency services will not be hampered," said the doctors' body in Maharashtra.

During a visit to a state-run hospital in Kolkata, Banerjee warned doctors who won't return to work. She said they must leave the hostel. ""They are outsiders. The government will not support them in any way," she said. "I condemn doctors who have gone on strike. Policemen die in line of duty but the police don't go on a strike."

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