20:01 GMT +319 August 2019
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    Indian doctors hold placard outside the King Edward Memorial hospital during a protest in Mumbai, India (File)

    Nationwide Protests of Doctors Erupt in India Over Alleged Assault by Patient’s Family

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    Over 3,500 resident doctors from New Delhi alone have lent support to the striking doctors of West Bengal, who have been staging protests for the last few days. The demonstrating doctors refused to give in to the state’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s directive to end the strike yesterday.

    New Delhi (Sputnik): The India Medical Association declared Friday "All India Protest Day" in solidarity with their colleagues protesting in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal state, to press for their demand to boost their security while they carry out their professional duties at medical facilities.

    The protest originally started on Tuesday after attacks on two junior doctors on duty at the NRS Medical College in Kolkata. They were allegedly physically assaulted by the family of an elderly patient who had died. But on Thursday, Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee urged doctors to stop the strikes, threating with strict measures.

    On Friday, the India Medical Association declared "All India Protest Day", with moral support for the medical community pouring in from different parts of the country on social media and #SaveTheDoctors trending high on Twitter.

    WARNING: Some photos are graphic and may offend sensibilities

    ​Meanwhile, the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has slammed West Bengal's authorities, accusing Mamata Banerjee of protecting the junior doctors' attackers just because they belong to the "minority" community.

    "Instead of providing security to the doctors, the Chief Minister is protecting the accused assaulters. The attackers of the doctors are not being arrested as they belong to a particular community who happen to be Banerjee's voters", BJP state President Dilip Ghosh said.

    Chief Minister Banerjee rebuffed the allegations, counter-accusing the BJP of communalising the whole issue. Earlier, throughout the campaigning of the Indian parliamentary elections, the BJP constantly accused Banerjee and her party of indulging in "Muslim appeasement" at the cost of Hindus living in the state.

    However, Banerjee has denied the "anti-Hindu" allegations levelled against her, while accusing the BJP of trying to incite communal feelings among the Hindus. After the election results, communal tensions between Hindus and Muslims have remained high in the state.

    Indian Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, too, has appealed to Chief Minister Banerjee to withdraw her ultimatum to the medical community and not make this a prestige issue.

    ​On Thursday, protesting doctors in the capital city of West Bengal engaged in a tussle with Mamata Banerjee as doctors did not pay heed to a four-hour ultimatum given by the chief minister to call off the strike when she visited them.

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    doctors, protest, Mamata Banerjee, India
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