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Doctors call for nationwide strike on Monday, Bengal protests spread

KOLKATA: The country's top association of medical professionals called for a strike on Monday as doctors' protests in West Bengal after assaults on them spread across India. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) launched a three-day protest Friday and said on Monday doctors won't provide non-essential health services. In Bengal, doctors demanded Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's unconditional apology and set six conditions for the state government to withdraw their four-day-long stir that disrupted healthcare services across West Bengal. "We want unconditional apology of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the manner in which she had addressed us at the SSKM Hospital yesterday. She should not have said what she had," a spokesperson of the joint forum of junior doctors, Dr Arindam Dutta, said.

While visiting the SSKM Hospital on Thursday, Banerjee had contended that "outsiders" had entered medical colleges to create disturbances and the agitation was a conspiracy by the CPI(M) and the BJP. Listing the six conditions, the agitators said the chief minister will have to visit the injured doctors at the hospital and her office should release a statement condemning the attack on them. "We also want immediate intervention of the chief minister. Documentary evidence of judicial enquiry against the inactivity of the police to provide protection to the doctors at the Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital on Monday night should also be provided," he said.

Two junior doctors were assaulted on Monday night by family members of a patient who died in the NRS Hospital. "We demand documentary evidence and details of action taken against those who had attacked us," Dutta said. They also demanded unconditional withdrawal of all "false cases and charges" which were imposed on junior doctors and medical students across West Bengal in the wake of their strike. They also stressed on their demand for improvement of infrastructure in all health facilities as well as posting of armed police personnel there.