KOLKATA: In an attempt to defuse the ongoing junior doctors’ strike in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday sought to meet their demands halfway, accepting the proposal to hold talks at an open venue on Monday, but conveyed her unease over media presence. This was reportedly shared with the protestors putting the ball back in their court. Earlier in the day, the doctors said they were ready for an open dialogue with Mamata at a venue of her choice.
While there is no clarity on when the issue would be resolved, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has decided to go ahead with its nationwide strike on Monday demanding better security to doctors.
A spokesperson of the striking Bengal doctors said, “It will not be a closed-door meeting. It has to be conducted openly where representatives from all medical colleges and hospitals across the state and national media houses will be present.” The junior doctors said Mamata’s statement on Saturday was full of discrepancies. After earlier accusing them of being outsiders backed by the BJP, she had accepted some of their demands on Saturday.
But the doctors had refused to go to the state secretariat saying they felt apprehensive over meeting Mamata behind closed doors. They had asked the CM to instead come to the NRS hospital, where two of their colleagues were assaulted after the death of an 85-year-old patient on the night of July 10.
The IMA has said outpatient departments would not function for 24 hours from 6 am on Monday.