The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Parties rally to choke SSKM with agitations

Politicians, who did not utter a word in support of Justice Amitava Lala’s restrict-rally order, almost laid siege to SSKM Hospital on Saturday, protesting the death of Susmita Biswas in a corridor of the hospital on Friday.

The slew of demonstrations hampered work in the hospital and movement of patients from one ward to another. SSKM surgeon superintendent Debdwaipayan Chattopadhyay, gheraoed by the agitators for hours, could not even sign papers to recommend free beds for poor patients.

The first demonstration, staged by Trinamul Congress chief whip Sovandeb Chattopadhyay and party councillor Ratan Malakar, stretched for about an hour-and-a-half with the two leaders submitting a deputation to the surgeon superintendent with demand of immediate steps against “the doctors concerned and improvement in hospital administration”.

The demonstration was called off only after the SSKM authorities showcaused Group-D employee Shankar Sau, who had allegedly taken the oxygen mask off Susmita in spite of her critical condition.

Sovandeb Chattopadhyay’s agitation was followed by another, organised by the Progressive Employees’ Union of SSKM Hospital. Led by Trinamul Congress leader Madan Mitra, the union gave a 72-hour ultimatum to the hospital authorities to take disciplinary action against “the erring doctors”. “Our demonstration was peaceful and did not disrupt work at the hospital. Our party workers were specifically directed by chairperson Mamata Banerjee not to disturb the hospital’s sanctity,” Mitra claimed.

Urging for a probe into the circumstances leading to the girl’s death by a Supreme Court judge, the employees’ union requested Chattopadhyay “not to make a scapegoat of anyone or shield the guilty staff”.

The SUCI, too, held a demonstration in front of Chattopadhyay’s office around 2 pm, demanding a judicial probe into the death and blaming SSKM authorities for flouting the Supreme Court order on hospitals to admit critical patients.

Another demonstration, led by local Youth Congress leader Partha Roy Chowdhury, demanded immediate suspension of doctors “responsible for Susmita’s tragic end”.

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