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West Bengal doctors withdraw strike

In unprecedented televised meeting, CM Mamata Banerjee assures them of increased security

Long agony: Saraswati had to wait for one day at the Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad for stitches to be removed as out-patient services were closed on Monday. Nagara Gopal The Hindu

Junior doctors in West Bengal called off their strike on Monday evening ending the seven-day standoff between them and the State government over lack of security at the workplace.

The truce was achieved following a two-hour meeting with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who assured them of improved security.

Doctors in the State have been protesting since Tuesday last against the assault on two junior doctors at NRS Hospital in Kolkata by the relatives of a patient who died at the hospital.

Representatives from medical colleges held a meeting with Ms. Banerjee at the State Secretariat, with the Chief Minister agreeing to live coverage of the talks.

Visits injured doctor

“We are satisfied with the meeting,” said representatives of the doctors. Later at night, Ms. Banerjee visited the injured junior doctor, Paribaha Mukherjee, at a private hospital.

The Chief Minister has asked the police to appoint nodal officers for security of doctors at all government hospitals and said no doctor has been booked by the government.

“Also the entry and exit gates [of hospitals] will be manned properly; CCTV cameras will be made functional. The police will be stationed in good numbers at the hospitals. A nodal officer will have all the information and coordinate with the doctors when they approach him with queries,” Ms. Banerjee said.

She added that every hospital should have a functional grievance cell that should be properly visible and manned round the clock. “But it is important too to educate the people that the doctors who are under pressure cannot be attacked. We need to trigger mass awareness programmes and [I] would ask the [Health] Department to look into this,” the Chief Minister said.

The representatives of the joint forum of junior doctors also sought exemplary punishment for those involved in the assault on doctors at the NRS Medical College and Hospital on June 11.

Ms. Banerjee instructed the officials present to give “priority” to the safety issues of the doctors.

PM asks Oppn. to speak out on issues

‘Don’t bother about your numbers’

As the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha commenced on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the Opposition to speak out on issues and not bother about their numbers, in a House where the ruling NDA has 353 seats.

Addressing the press before the session, Mr. Modi said he welcomed all new MPs as with them “comes new hopes, new aspirations and new determination to serve.” “When we come to Parliament we should forget Paksha [Treasury] and Vipaksha [Opposition]. We should think about Nishpaksh spirit’ [objective neutrality] and work in the larger interest of the nation,” he said.

“The role of the Opposition is important in a parliamentary democracy. The Opposition need not bother about their numbers. I hope they speak actively and participate in House proceedings,” he said.

He commended the historically largest contingent of women MPs elected to the 17th Lok Sabha as well.

The Prime Minister said his government worked on the principle of sabka sath, sabka vikas (with all, development for all) during his first term and people reposed their faith in it for a second time. As a result, a government had been re-elected with a clear majority after several decades, he said. As he entered the Lok Sabha, he went around the Opposition benches greeting senior leaders, who stood up as he greeted them.

Rahul takes oath

Congress president Rahul Gandhi, back from a sojourn abroad, started his fourth term as a Lok Sabha member, but from a new constituency. He had won in the election from Wayanad in Kerala but lost to the BJP’s Smriti Irani in his traditional seat of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh by over 55,000 votes.

With his mother watching the proceedings from a front row seat of the Opposition benches, Mr. Gandhi took the oath in English. And interestingly, despite his temple visits becoming a matter of intense political debate, he took the oath by “solemnly affirming his allegiance to the Constitution,” unlike many of his colleagues who took the oath in the name of God.

10 injured as militants trigger IED blast again in Pulwama

Army personnel travelling in mine-proof vehicle targeted

Out of action: The bullet-and-mine-proof vehicle that came under IED attack in Pulwama on Monday. Special Arrangement Special Arrangement

Eight Army personnel and two civilians were injured when militants triggered an improvised explosive device (IED) fitted in a vehicle near an Army patrol in the militancy-hit Pulwama district of south Kashmir on Monday, officials said.

They said the multi-vehicle patrol of the 44 Rashtriya Rifles was moving on the Arihal-Pulwama road when the IED was detonated, injuring the personnel travelling in a bullet-and-mine-proof Casper vehicle.

The site of the IED blast is 27 km from the area where a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was attacked by a suicide bomber on February 14 in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

Major killed

In another incident, an Army officer and a militant were killed during an encounter in Anantnag.

A Srinagar-based police spokesman said Major Ketan Sharma, 32, from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, was injured when a search party of the security forces encircled hiding militants and came under “heavy fire” at Badoora village in Anantnag’s Achabal area in the morning.

“Sharma was evacuated to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries,” said the police.

(With PTI inputs)

J.P. Nadda appointed BJP’s working president

Will oversee organisational elections

J.P. Nadda

The BJP’s parliamentary board, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Monday declared former Union Minister J.P. Nadda the party’s working president, after the incumbent Amit Shah joined the Union Cabinet.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh made the announcement after a meeting of the board here.

“The BJP has won in several elections under the leadership of Shri Amit Shah. After Mr. Modi appointed him the Home Minister, Amitji himself said the responsibility of party president should be given to someone else. The parliamentary board met today [on Monday] and it has selected Shri J.P. Nadda as the working president. He will remain the working president till the membership drive and organisational elections are over,” he said.

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