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Indian doctors end strike after assurances on better security

Indian patients queue up for a doctor appointment at Siliguri District Hospital in Siliguri on June 18, 2019, , following the strike withdrawn by junior doctors in India’s West Bengal state. – Tens of thousands of Indian doctors went on strike on June 17 calling for more protection against violence by patients and their families, as parliament met for the first time since national elections. (Photo by DIPTENDU DUTTA / AFP)

Doctors in India’s West Bengal state on Tuesday withdrew from their week-long strike, following assurances of improved workplace security measures after a violent attack on a doctor.

Tens of thousands of doctors went on strike in the state capital of Kolkata and several Indian cities on Friday and Monday.

The protests began after a junior doctor was attacked in Kolkata on Monday, leaving him with serious head injuries.

Hospitals around India suspended all services except emergency services in solidarity with the Bengal doctors.

State Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, met with the striking doctors on Monday and announced steps to scale up security at hospitals.

“We are withdrawing from cease-work.

“We expect the government to solve the issues as discussed, in due time,’’ a representative of the doctors told newsmen after the meeting.

A junior doctor at Kolkata’s NRS Hospital was attacked after a patient died, while relatives blamed the doctor for negligence and attacked the doctor accompanied by a mob.

The protests snowballed after Banerjee said she would take severe action against the doctors if they did not return to work.

Hospitals in West Bengal were the worst-hit as junior doctors who form the backbone of health services held strikes and protest marches.

The agitation spread to Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Patna among other cities where doctors walked off work and held rallies.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) said 350,000 doctors had joined the strike.

The IMA has also filed a petition before the Supreme Court, seeking security for doctors in government hospitals, which will be taken up for hearing in the coming weeks.

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