Bengal’s junior health minister Chandrima Bhattacharya visited the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital on Monday and requested the students to end their hunger strike.
However, the protesters, who are demanding that the students’ union election at the college be held on December 22, did not relent.
The medical college authorities had scheduled the election for December 22, only to defer it indefinitely days later.
The minister said that it was not possible to hold the students’ union election immediately because examinations were under way across the state. The poll could not be held earlier, she said, because of Covid-induced restrictions, some of which are still in force.
Bhattacharya assured the students that the election would be held, but expressed her inability to commit a date.
“I have come here on instructions from the chief minister. I requested the students to end their hunger strike. The election will be held but a date cannot be announced right now,” she said.
“Examinations are under way in various sectors across the state. It is not possible to hold the election now,” said Bhattacharya, minister of state for health. The chief minister is also the state’s health minister.
Five students started an indefinite hunger strike at 10am on Thursday. Two more students joined the hunger strike on Monday.
One of the five students who started the hunger strike was admitted to the hospital after he passed out.
Aniket Kar, a protesting student who has not joined the hunger strike, said the health of all five students had worsened and one of them became unconscious. “He had to be administered saline but he has refused to eat,” Kar said.