Loud cheers, whistles, and claps greeted the announcement of withdrawal of the junior doctors’ strike, as the protesting young medicos at NRS Hospital rejoiced at their victory after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accepted all their demands on Monday.
“It is our victory,” said an intern, who had been shouting “We want justice” through the seven days of the “cease work” that started in protest against the brutal attack on two junior doctors by family members of a dead patient at the Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital on Monday night.
The issue snowballed, as doctors across the state stopped work at the outpatient departments in most government hospitals, while angry medicos all over the country erupted in protest against the assault on their colleagues in Bengal.
But on Monday evening, the doctors at the NRS beamed with happiness, even as some of them threw barbs at the Chief Minister for having called them outsiders”, “urban Naxals”, “CPI-M cadre” and “BJP workers”.
“It is our victory in the sense that we have forced the Chief Minister to tone down her earlier aggressive stand. We have made her realise that she cannot browbeat everyone,” said a junior doctor.
Some doctors at the gathering also broke into a chorus “Amra Kara? Lokkhi Chele (Who are we? We are good boys)” and “Hip Hip Hurray”.
Only a short while ago, Banerjee had lovingly addressed as “Lokkhi Chele” the 31 junior doctors, representing all medical colleges in the state, during a meeting at the state secretariat Nabanna – days after calling them names.
But most of the doctors expressed happiness at Banerjee’s cordial and “positive” attitude during the over one and a half hour meeting. The Chief Minister not only listened to the protesters patiently, she also passed off instructions to the senior bureaucrats and police officers present at the meeting to implement most of the proposals given by the doctors.
“Our representatives have shared our demands with the Chief Minister and the entire meeting was very positive,” Atanu Ganguly, an intern, told IANS.
As soon as the meeting ended, the gatherings of doctors cheered loudly, whistled spontaneously and clapped incessantly.
“We heard our Chief Minister speak and I have full faith in her. Now we hope our worries will end,” a female intern said.
The overall sentiments were of mirth and gaiety.
Some of them planned to order ‘Biryani’ while distancing themselves from media cameras.
Even the nursing staff were happy that their demands had reached the Chief Minister.