Mamata Banerjee
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The strike by doctors in West Bengal is likely to continue into a sixth day today after junior doctors, in a late-night meeting on Saturday, said they would not return to work. 

The strike by doctors in West Bengal is likely to continue into a sixth day today after junior doctors, in a late-night meeting on Saturday, said they would not return to work. 

This came after yet another appeal by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who also said her government would not force them to return to their duties despite having the power to do so.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also wrote to all Chief Ministers, calling for strict action against anybody who assaults doctors. The doctors' strike, triggered by an attack on two junior doctors by a patient's family on Monday, has spilled over to other states.

"We are eagerly waiting to start our duty, but from the Chief Minister's side there is no such honest initiative to find a solution (of the ongoing problem)," news agency PTI quoted a spokesperson of the joint forum of junior doctors telling reporters.
 
Protesting doctors turned down an invite for a closed-door meeting with Mamata Banerjee at the state secretariat on Saturday and instead asked her to visit the NRS Medical College and Hospital to hold talks and resolve the impasse.
 
At a press conference held after the doctors refused her invitation, Ms Banerjee once again asked the doctors to return to work, assuring them that her government would not invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA).
 
"We have the laws, but we do not want to use them.... We are not going to take any stringent action against any of the agitating junior doctors and hamper their career," Ms Banerjee said. 
 
The protest is set to continue for a sixth day, paralysing medical services in the state. Protesters have set six conditions to end their stir, including an unconditional apology from Ms Banerjee for remarks against the agitation and action against those who assaulted their colleague.
 
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan wrote a letter to all states, asking them to consider enacting specific legislation for protecting doctors and medical professionals from any form of violence. The minister had blamed the state government for the escalating doctors' strike.
 
A delegation of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) met the Health Minister over the ongoing protests. The country's leading doctors' body launched a four-day nationwide protest on Friday and called a strike on Monday.
 
The Kolkata Citizens Forum has requested the striking doctors to ensure treatment of serious injuries, particularly in children, women and the elderly. The Forum, which is set to take out a rally on Sunday, also supported the call for strict action against those who harass or assault doctors.
 
In Delhi, doctors at 15 hospitals held protests on Saturday, the Federation Of Resident Doctors Association said. The AIIMS Resident Doctors' Association has issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the Bengal government to end the stalemate.
 
Junior doctors in West Bengal have been on strike since June 11 after two of their colleagues were attacked by the relatives of a patient who died at NRS Hospital.
 
Over 300 doctors across various state-run medical college and hospitals in the state have resigned since the strike began.