Reprimanding the striking state hospital doctors, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday gave them a four-hour ultimatum to withdraw their strike and warned of "strong action' if they do not resume work within the deadline.
Banerjee visited the state-run Seth Sukhlal Karnani Memorial (SSKM) Hospital, where the junior doctors had joined in the two-day long strike alongside their colleagues across the state in protest against the attack on an intern in another city hospital.
She spoke to some of the patients and their family members waiting at the hospital's lobby outside the emergency department and issued instructions to the hospital officials over phone, as the protesting doctors continued to raise slogans, demanding "justice".
Addressing the protesting doctors, Banerjee said: "One cannot become a doctor by denying service to the patients. I ask you all to resume work within four hours. If you continue such disturbance then the government hostel facility will be taken away."
She said her government has condemned the attack on the junior doctors but being doctors they cannot stop their services.
"Even police officers die during their duty but they cannot resort to sit-in protests.
"Obstruction of hospital work is a crime. Let the good sense prevail. I appeal to you to resume work. If the disturbance continues, strong action will be taken as per law," she said.
Protesting against the brutal attack on two junior doctors by the family members of a dead patient in Kolkata's state-run Medical College and Hospital on Monday night, the doctors across the state have stopped work at the out-patient departments (OPDs) in most government hospitals in Bengal since Wednesday.