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15 medical college students join fast

Some of the protesting students on Tuesday

College Street: At least 15 students joined the ongoing hunger strike at Calcutta Medical College and Hospital on Wednesday night.

Interns at the hospital have announced they would support the strike.

Six students have been on hunger strike from July 10, demanding a change in the hostel admission criteria.

"The hostel authorities have told us that they cannot accept our demand of allocating seats in hostels based on distance and seniority," Sayantan Mukhuti, a fifth-year MBBS student, said. "We have no option but to continue with our movement."

On Wednesday, a meeting of the college council in which student representatives were present failed to resolve the impasse.

A new 11-storey hostel in which beds have been allotted to first-year students is the bone of contention.

The college had kept counselling for hostel seats suspended for two years; which means many of the older students don't have sanctioned beds.

Debasish Bhattacharya, the director of medical education, said the authorities could not accept the demands of the protesting students as it would violate the Medical Council of India's anti-ragging regulation.

The council has made it mandatory to provide freshers with separate accommodation to prevent ragging.

"We appeal to the good sense of the protesting students to see reason... if the interns strike work, they should know it is against the law of the land for doctors to go on strike," Bhattacharya said.

Uchhal Bhadra, the principal of the medical college, had taken ill on Tuesday when students were protesting outside his chamber.

He was admitted to the hospital's ICCU and later shifted to SSKM Hospital.

"His blood pressure was high and it had affected some of his cardiac functions. The blood pressure has been controlled and he is better but weak," an SSKM Hospital official said.

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