Mamata Banerjee gives 4-hour ultimatum to doctors at SSKM Medical college in Kolkata

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Kolkata, June 13 (IANS) Facing noisy demonstrations from striking junior doctors, an angry West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday gave them a four-hour ultimatum to withdraw their strike and warned of “strong action” if the situation was not normalised within the deadline.

Banerjee visited the state-run Seth Sukhlal Karnani Memorial (SSKM) Hospital, where the junior doctors had joined in the two day long strike alongside their colleagues across the state in protest against the attack on an intern in another city hospital.

She spoke to some of the patients and their family members waiting at the hospital lobby outside the emergency department and issued instructions to the hospital officials over phone, as the protesting doctors continued to raise slogans, shouting “We want justice”.

The junior doctors also held aloft posters and placards on which were written “give us a working atmosphere” and “punish all those who attacked us”.

Addressing the protesting doctors Banerjee said: “One cannot become a doctor by denying service to the patients. I ask you all to join duty by 2 p.m. and normalise the situation within four hours. If you continue such disturbance, then the government hostel facility will be taken away”.

She said her government has condemned the attack on the junior doctors but being doctors they cannot stop their services.

“Even police officers die during their duty but they cannot resort to sit-in protests,” she said.

“Obstruction of hospital work is a crime. Let good sense prevail. I appeal to you to resume work. If the disturbance continues, strong action will be taken as per law,” she added.

Protesting against the brutal attack on two junior doctors by the family members of a dead patient in Kolkata’s state-run NRS Medical College and Hospital on Monday night, doctors across the state have stopped work at the out patient departments (OPDs) in most government hospitals in the state since Wednesday.

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