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Junior docs sniff action plan

- NBMCH principal limits campaign and posters to designated points on campus

Siliguri, Aug.10: A section of junior doctors in North Bengal Medical College today alleged that the institute had restricted protests and putting up of posters because it wanted to target those among them who had called a strike on August 7 to protest the suspension of the principal.

The new principal, Samir Ghosh Roy, denied that this was the reason for bringing out a circular forbidding protests and random slapping of posters across the campus.

The notice, issued by the principal read: “All persons related to this institution are hereby intimated that no notice /posters/campaigns/leaflets are allowed to be pasted besides the demarcated /designated places (decided by the authorities); by any platform or forum.”

The junior doctors have raised doubts on the date mentioned in the circular which is August 7, the day junior doctors had struck work.

The circular was made public on August 8. The junior doctors said the authorities purposely pushed back the date by a day so that action could be taken against the protestors, a charge the institution has denied.

“The circular was put up on the notice boards in the evening of August 8 but it had been issued on August 7. We are certain that the circular was issued with the August 7 date so that the authorities can take action against us. However, we will defy the order. We will paste posters and hold a rally on the NBMCH campus against the order because this is a violation of our democratic rights,” said Tushar Kanti Sarkar, a junior doctor.

Principal Ghosh Roy said: “There is no such reason for issuing the circular. We have identified four places where posters can be pasted and demonstrations can be held.”

NBMCH sources said the circular was issued because of a spate of demonstrations that were triggered by the suspension of former NBMCH principal Anup Kumar Roy on August 4. On the day Anup Kumar Roy was suspended, sources in north Bengal’s main referral hospital had said the move came days after he pointed out the state’s shortcomings in checking Japanese Encephalitis deaths to junior health minister Chandrima Bhattacharya.

Since January, 143 people have died in NBMCH and other north Bengal hospital either from Japanese Encephalitis or from symptoms similar to it, which doctors have categorised as Acute Encephalitis Syndrome.

Today, two persons died in NBMCH, one of them a confirmed case of Japanese Encephalitis, the other of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome.

In another development, Biswaranjan Sathpathy, the director of health services, has asked Asit Biswas, the chief medical officer of health of Darjeeling, to start an isolation ward either at NBMCH or the Siliguri district hospital for any person coming from any country that has reported Ebola virus deaths.