The RG Kar Medical College And Hospital protests enter 10th day, no breakthrough yet

The protest by the junior doctors and interns in the state-run RG Kar Medical College And Hospital enters 10th day without any actionable solutions to their problems

As the doctor’s strike in Kolkata’s RG Kar Medical College and Hospital enters the 10th day, the state health officials have decided to meet the hospital administration to achieve a breakthrough and restore the normalization of the services.

The relay hunger strike and cessation of work began after the purported clash between the principal and the doctors on October 9.

RG Kar Medical College And Hospital agitation

The protest began on October 9, after months of clashes between the students and the principal, Sandeep Ghosh, over a range of issues.  “The hunger strike began from the night of October 3 demanding to form democratic student union, women hostel allotments and others,” Devoleena Bose said to Digpu news.

On October 9, according to the protesting students, the authorities had sent police personnel to their house for creating pressure to cease protests. After this incident, the doctors and the protesting students decided to meet the principal for seeking an explanation. “While we had gone to meet him in the room, he threatened us, and due to which, we decided to protest in front of his office,” she added.  As per the protesting students, around 5 am, the principal hurriedly ran out of his office without any instigation. “If we have instigated any violence near his office, the CCTV must have recorded it. We did ask the administration to release the footage, but they didn’t release it yet,” the student added.

Earlier, the students were allegedly beaten up near the Belgachia Bridge for voicing their demands by local police. The senior doctors and their associations have also supported the agitation. “Their demands are legitimate and must be heard,” said the convener of West Bengal Doctors Association, Dr Purnabrata Goon. At least seven doctors associations have pledged their support to the protesting students. 

The issues leading to the agitation

Around 20 female hostel boarders were asked to vacate their rooms on July 27 without any former notice. “During the first phase of lockdown, the authorities have shifted our belongings from our dorms to a small dingy room without our permission,” Devoleena said.

Later, the students were asked to move in a makeshift arrangement. When they denied moving in and talked with the authorities about the same, the authorities assured them. However, within a few hours, the students have received instructions from the hostel authority to remain in the dingy rooms. “The authorities have cited separation due to covid as the reason, but the notification was released on July,” she said.

The meeting at the Swasthya Bhavan

The health officials did meet with the representatives of the protesting students and the authority in Swasthya Bhavan on October 15 in the presence of the DME (Director of Medical Education). “They have formed a committee bypassing the authority member in doubts to voice our grievances. We have heartily welcomed the decision,” Bose added.

Even after the assurance, the students are doubtful about the dual face stature of the authorities. “We have decided to continue the strike as we can’t trust the authorities anymore. We demand removal of the principal,” said Devoleena, who is a part of the relay hunger strike demonstration.

The protest began with more than 350 students, of which 11 students have taken part in the relay hunger strike demonstration. “Though the association will not make any comment on the removal of principal, such demands are common and valid in some cases. Earlier in 2018, the medical college principal was removed on various allegations. The government should take some immediate action,” said Dr Goon.

The administration

As told, the administration had talked with the protesting students but could not offer promising solutions. Dr Nirmal Manji, the president of the West Bengal Medical Association, has said that they are still in talks with the administration about a possible breakthrough. Meanwhile, state health officials have announced strict actions against absent doctors.

According to the protesting students and the senior doctors supporting the protest, there is no major hassle in the hospital’s services.   

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