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Kolkata hospital violence: Is politics being played?

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New Delhi, June 15: The strained relation between doctors and patients has once again come to fore with the incident of West Bengal.

The junior doctors of West Bengal have been on strike since Tuesday in protest against the brutal assault on two colleagues in Nilratan Sarkar Medical College and Hospital on Monday night by family members of an octogenarian patient, Mohammed Shahid, who passed away. According to the reports, the names of the injured interns are: Dr Paribaha Mukherjee and Dr. Yash Tekwani.

Junior doctors hold placards during a demonstration after an intern doctor was attacked and seriously injured over the death of a 75-year-old patient, at Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital, in Kolkata

After the incident, doctors across the country have expressed solidarity with their West Bengal counterparts. Reports say that doctors from many states have boycotted their duty.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has declared nationwide protest against the incident on Monday. The striking doctors have also demanded an apology from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Proving medical negligence mammoth task

During a visit to a state-run hospital in Kolkata, Ms Banerjee warned doctors who won't return to work. Doctors who don't return to work must leave the hostel, she said. "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," she added. She has accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India- Marsist (CPI-M) of engineering the strike and playing "Hindu-Muslim politics".

A delegation of Resident Doctors Association of AIIMS, Safdarjung Hospital, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, United Resident & Doctors Association of India (URDA) and Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA), on Friday met Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan, who condemned the attack on doctors and assured them to provide a safe working environment.

He also said that "I appeal to West Bengal CM to not make this an issue of prestige. She gave the doctors an ultimatum, as a result they got angry and went on strike."

Later, he wrote a letter to Mamata Banerjee and urged her to ensure an amicable end to the agitation and provide a secure working environment to the doctors.

Meanwhile, a deep analysis of the incident related reports shows that efforts are on to politicise it.

The Quint termed a WhatsApp message as false that claimed that one of the injured intern doctors Dr Paribaha Mukherjee has died.

"When we tried looking for the news, we found out that the same message was been spread on Twitter which multiple users claiming that the intern doctor has passed away," said Quint report.

Striking doctors refuse to meet Mamata, demand unconditional apology

A source in Kolkata also tells OneIndia that the atmosphere of the city is vitiated over the incident.

"The Hindu and Muslim localities are clearly divided over the issue. The Hindus, particularly non-Bengalis, are of the opinion that Mamata Banerjee admonished striking doctors because the assaulters were Muslims. On the other hand, the Muslims believe that the BJP and its allied organisations are trying to turn a doctor-patient issue into a Hindu and Muslim one," says the source.

A political analyst is of the opinion that since Hindu doctors were attacked by Muslims, therefore it's like a political gift for the BJP, which is eyeing to dethrone Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government in the next Assembly elections.

"The reaction and posture of Mamata Banerjee over the incident has provided more ammunition to the BJP. She should have appealed to the doctors and warned the public not to take law into their own hands. But, she only threatened the doctors. No one would believe that politically astute Mamata was not addressing Muslim vote bank. What Dr Harsh Vardhan has said about her conduct is what the BJP is going exploit for its benefit. ," says the analyst.

It's notable that the BJP has won 18 seats in West Bengal in the recently held Lok Sabha elections, which has left Mamata Banerjee sulking.

Both BJP and ruling Trinamool Congress are at loggerheads and there are many incidents wherein the BJP workers are killed. The BJP has always blamed the Trinamool Congress for the killings.

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