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Please restore normalcy a mellow Mamata requests doctors on strike

first_imgKolkata: A mellowed Mamata Banerjee put the ball on the agitating junior doctors’ court after they refused her offer of a meeting on Saturday, holding out three key assurances and requesting them to rejoin work. She said all their security demands would be met, no action would be taken against them for the now five-day-old strike, and they would be free to contact her, the governor, chief secretary or the police commissioner for a resolution through talks. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess Durga Immediately after Mamata’s news conference at Nabanna, the state secretariat, the junior doctors said the strike would continue as the chief minister had not agreed to their demand to meet them at NRS Medical College and Hospital. Late on Saturday night, the junior doctors rebutted several assertions made by Mamata at the media conference but said a general body meeting would decide if talks can be held at any other venue. At the media conference, Mamata adopted a tone that was in sharp contrast to the belligerence she had displayed at SSKM Hospital on Thursday, which had escalated the confrontation. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellers On Saturday, Mamata concluded her opening remarks at Nabanna with an impassioned plea: “Please restore normalcy. Start the service for the people: my humble submission to them. I’m not going to take any stringent action (against the agitators), though we have everything with us. Let good sense prevail.” Redeploying the people skills that had once stood her in good stead, Mamata said: “They are young, they made a mistake, let them be, I forgive them.” After issuing the invitation on Friday evening, Mamata had waited for the junior doctors to turn up, but as they couldn’t decide immediately whether to accept the invite, another meeting had been set for Saturday at 5pm. On Saturday afternoon, the junior doctors issued a statement Mamata addressed the news conference amid a sense of dejection in the administration following the junior doctors’ refusal to turn up for the meeting, and amid a perception that her stridency was preventing a resolution. By then, the Union home ministry had sent an advisory to the Bengal government “urgently” seeking a report on the cease-work by doctors — a move described as unusual by officials in Delhi. At the outset, Mamata sought to address the perception that the government had done nothing to resolve the crisis. She pressed chief secretary Malay De to describe the steps the administration had taken since Monday night’s mob attack on junior doctors at NRS following a patient’s death. Mamata then took the microphone. “We have taken all possible action. I sent a minister, officers and the police commissioner to talk to them (the agitators),” she said. “The police arrested five of the accused immediately, and stringent charges have been brought against them. The police commissioner has enhanced security at all the medical colleges and hospitals.” She added: “I waited five hours yesterday and three hours today to talk to the junior doctors.” Over the next half-hour, Mamata tried to give her side of the story and hammer home the fact that poor patients across the state continued to suffer -– a factor that can turn public opinion against attempts to prolong the strike. Rarely before have emergency services been affected in state-run medical colleges and hospitals for five days on the trot, with no certain end in sight. Several senior doctors who had provided moral support to the agitation when it started told this newspaper on Saturday that some of the junior doctors had begun making “illogical and unreasonable demands”. A government source said: “Had Mamata tried sending this message two days ago, there would not have been many takers. But today, people know how the patients are suffering because of the strike.” Some junior doctors have accused Mamata of arrogance for her failure to visit them or Paribaha Mukherjee, an intern severely injured in Monday’s attack, and cited her belligerence during the visit to SSKM Hospital on Thursday. Mamata tried to rebut the charges at the news conference. “When I entered (SSKM), the agitating doctors sitting there created an obstruction…. While I was walking, I was pushed. They were shouting and filthy comments were passed,” she said. “Despite that, I told the police not to arrest anybody. They are young, they had made a mistake, let them be, I forgive them. Had this taken place elsewhere, a lot of action would have been initiated.” Never losing her composure, unlike at SSKM, Mamata was at pains to underscore that she was pursuing a reasonable approach devoid of vindictiveness or rancour. Mamata repeatedly — and in detail — contrasted her government’s approach with that of others elsewhere in the country to doctors’ strikes. She said her government could have taken stringent action, such as enforcing the Essential Services Maintenance Act (Esma), blocking the registration of the agitating doctors, extending their period of internship or filing FIRs against them. “Such stern steps have been taken by 9 to 10 states in the past few years. But we did not do it,” she said. Sources said that although Bengal had desisted from adopting Esma owing to the erstwhile Left Front government’s opposition to the act, the state government could have implemented its provisions through an ordinance. By explaining what she could have done, sources said, the chief minister had attempted to underline her government’s apparent lenience and put pressure on the agitators to call off their strike. She tried to highlight her eagerness for a solution by suggesting the junior doctors could meet other authorities if they were averse to talk to her. “They had two main demands. First, a heightening of their security; second, action against the accused. Both have been done. Still, if they think I’m not capable enough, they can hold meetings with the governor, chief secretary or the police commissioner. If they have additional demands, those will also be taken care of,” she said. The option of talks with the governor, sources said, was a significant conciliatory gesture on Mamata’s part since she has had testy ties with Keshari Nath Tripathi and had as recently as Thursday accused him of exceeding his brief at the behest of BJP leaders in Delhi and Calcutta. Sources close to Mamata hoped that her news conference would help undo the damage her belligerence had caused on Thursday when she gave the agitators four hours to join duty or face action, and called some of them “outsiders”. Neither the heath department nor the police have initiated any action, though, a point Mamata took care to highlight. “She had looked overly belligerent till yesterday. But she has deployed her tried-and-tested outreach skills, and this has helped her turn the tables on the agitating doctors,” a Nabanna official said.(With inputs from Telegraph India)last_img read more

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Alleged Murderer of Moroccan Jewish Couple Caught in Casablanca

Rabat – Casablanca’s judiciary police services arrested on Friday the alleged culprit of a premeditated murder, robbery and mutilation of the bodies of two Moroccan Jewish citizens, said the national police (DGSN).Police services had received a missing person warrant, in suspicious circumstances, for a man and his spouse since July 2 and investigations, led under the supervision of the competent public prosecutor’s office, revealed the implication of a gardener (aged 51), who was employed by the said couple, the police added in a statement.The offender had mutilated the corpses of the victims and scattered them in Casablanca, said the same source, underlining that the crime’s main motive is theft of jewelry. “This case has no link whatsoever with any terrorist act,” it stressed. read more

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Better future for Somalia must remain collective priority Ban says at highlevel

Addressing a high-level meeting on Somalia, held on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly’s annual debate, Mr. Ban said the country has made “steady progress” in building a federal, democratic State. In particular, he highlighted the formation of a new interim regional administration, the launch of the constitutional review process, and the creation of a National Independent Electoral Commission. In addition, a National Consultative Forum was launched on 19 September to agree on the 2016 electoral process.“These are important steps, but the momentum must be sustained. Somalia cannot afford to get side-tracked by partisan politics or self-interest,” the Secretary-General cautioned.“I urge all parties to work together on the goals they have set, including to complete state formation, advance the constitutional review and ensure an inclusive electoral process in 2016. There can be no extensions of the constitutionally mandated terms of the executive and legislature.”Noting that the threat of Al-Shabaab continues to destabilize the country, Mr. Ban paid tribute to the African Union and bilateral partners, whose operations with Somali forces have expelled the militant group from key strongholds. At the same time, he stressed that the threat of Al-Shabaab cannot be defeated by military means alone. “I call on all Somalis, as well as Somalia’s friends, neighbours and partners, to reflect on the need for a more comprehensive approach to counter violent extremism in the country,” he said.“We need to understand the factors that drive people to join Al-Shabaab. We must help Somali authorities forge a viable alternative: notably by building a State that offers political inclusion, security, justice and economic opportunity to all – and that respects the human rights of all and empowers the country’s women.“We must help counter propaganda, and offer a path out of violence for those ready to leave Al-Shabaab. A strong regional approach and collaboration will be important in furthering this objective.” Mr. Ban also stated that the time has come to invest more support in the Somali police, to help provide security in areas recovered from Al-Shabaab. He asked all partners to deepen their efforts as part of the broader development of the criminal justice system. Greater attention also needs to be devoted to the country’s economic recovery, as well as to the dire humanitarian situation in which some 855,000 Somalis face acute food insecurity and over a million are internally displaced.President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud told the meeting that Somalis are about to begin consultations for an electoral process that will enable them to elect their own leaders for the first time in 47 years, since the last election in 1969.He highlighted key areas of focus, including ensuring security and economic recovery, which is critical to a better life for the Somali people, and the need to support the recently established regional governments, which will be the foundation of a full-fledged federal republic of Somalia.Also vital will be ensuring that the “fragile” humanitarian situation in Somalia does not also contribute to the country’s insecurity, he stated.“Three million Somalis are dependent on humanitarian assistance to meet their most basic daily needs. This is not acceptable anymore compared to the development and the progress in security and politics in Somalia,” said the President.He added that the Government is committed to a broad and inclusive process that makes certain that decisions are taken in a representative manner and that promotes the participation of women and minority groups. “There will be room for discussion but not disengagement. There will be room for perspectives but not for politicking. There will be room for negotiations but not for negativity. The Somali people deserve success not spoilers.“The seed for peace has taken root in Somalia and I have no doubt it will bloom into a tree whose branches shelter us all.” read more