Strike paused as Bhutanese king visits; demands remain unresolved

The Report Desk

Published: March 24, 2024, 05:14 PM

Strike paused as Bhutanese king visits; demands remain unresolved

Photo: The Report Dot Live

In a gesture of respect for King Raja Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan, the ongoing protest demanding salary increases and arrears payment for trainee and intern doctors has been temporarily suspended for one day. However, the work stoppage and sit-in protests at respective campuses will persist.

The relaxation came as King Raja Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck visited the Sheikh Hasina Burn and Plastic Surgery Institute on Sunday.. Despite assurances from Health Minister Dr. Samanta Lal Sen during a meeting with the protesting doctors on Sunday, promising action within 48 hours, demonstrators remain skeptical due to past unfulfilled promises.

President of the Postgraduate Private Trainee Doctors Association, Jabir Hossain, expressed dissatisfaction, stating, "While assurances have been given regarding our demands, the lack of tangible results has left us with no choice but to demand official notifications. Therefore, our movement will continue, albeit confined to campus during the King‍‍`s visit."

Hossain outlined the course of action if demands are not met within 48 hours, indicating a potential escalation in protests. The demands include salary increases for postgraduate private trainee doctors to 50,000 taka and for intern doctors to 30,000 taka per month, payment of arrears for various medical personnel, and the implementation of the Doctors Protection Act.

Dr. Intern Zakir Ahmed emphasized the need for concrete notifications rather than verbal assurances, citing past instances where promises were not upheld. The uncertainty surrounding the fulfillment of these demands has prompted continued mobilization among the medical community.

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