Thousands of doctors and medical students across India went on strike to demand better security at hospitals days after junior doctors in eastern Kolkata city were attacked, leaving services in many government-run health facilities paralyzed.

The state of West Bengal, of which Kolkata is capital, has been the worst hit by the strike with at least 13 big government hospitals affected.

Doctors demanding better security began a strike but their action was confined to the state until West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee condemned them, saying police did not strike when one of their colleagues was killed.

Banerjee’s remarks, which included a warning that junior doctors would be evicted from their college hostels if they did not go back to work, triggered a nationwide reaction.

India spent an estimated 1.4 per cent of its gross domestic product on healthcare in 2017-18, among the lowest proportions in the world. Many millions of Indians depend on the cheap but inadequate public health system.