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Bengal impasse continues as protesting doctors reject Mamata's call for talks

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Kolkata, June 15: On the fifth day of the doctors' protest in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she accepts all valid demands of the protesting doctors and requested them to return to work. However, agitating doctors turned down Banerjee's offer for talks at the state secretariat saying they fear about their security and rejected her appeal to end their stir.

File photo of Mamata Banerjee

Addressing the reporters Mamata said, "We are not going to take any strict action against the doctors".

"I wanted to speak to the agitating doctors the very next day. They refused to speak to me. I was humiliated but never spoke of this before," Banerjee said.

Urging the doctors to resume duty, Banerjee said the ESMA (Essential Services Maintenance Act) won't be invoked against the protesting doctors. She also said the government is taking necessary steps to prevents incidents of violence against the doctors.

Centre seeks separate reports from WB govt on political violence, doctors' strike

"We have already adhered to all legitimate demands and are open to any other additional demands that may be there... We want an amicable solution to this problem," Banerjee said. She said the administration is showing patience in the situation.

The agitating doctors turned down her request saying there was no honest effort on her part to break the deadlock.

"We are eagerly waiting to start our duty, but from the Chief Minister's side there is no such honest initiative to find a solution (of the ongoing problem)," a spokesperson of the joint forum of junior doctors told reporters.

Meanwhile, the central government has asked for a report from the state, sources said on Saturday.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also wrote to all chief ministers, calling for strict action against anybody who assaults doctors. The strike, triggered by an attack on two junior doctors by a patient's family on Monday, has spilled over to other states.

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