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Amid violence and curfews, Kashmiris flock to hospitals to donate blood

Burhan_wani_kashmir Updated: Jul 22, 2016 13:51 IST
Ashiq Hussain
Ashiq Hussain
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

A masked protester holds an exploded tear gas shell to throw back at policemen as they clash in Srinagar, Kashmir on Sunday July 17, 2016. (AP Photo)

Mushtaq Ahmad travelled 5 km on foot amid a curfew to reach Srinagar’s Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital to donate blood for those injured in the violence following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani.

The 32-year-old Ahmad joined Syed Mohsin, a lawyer who came from come from the volatile Qamarwari, and a group of 10 men from nearby Chattabal.

“I had come from Natipora dodging protests, angry cops and CRPF men to donate blood for my brothers. But they are not accepting now,” Ahmad said.

An enthusiastic minor from the old city was also seen trying to convince officials to accept his blood only to be turned away like many others.

“Sorry, we have enough blood in storage now. We can’t accept more,” hospital officials told those in the queue.

Kashmir has been on the boil after Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces on July 8. Violent clashes between angry protesters and security forces across the valley have killed over 40 people and injured thousands in the 11-day unrest even as curfew continues in the region.

Read: Army says it ‘deeply regrets’ death of Kashmiri protestors in firing.

Despite receiving an unprecedented number of patients with bullet and pellet injuries, hospitals in Srinagar say they have managed to keep enough blood in stock following a huge response from people who have eagerly donated for the injured.

The SMHS hospital, one of the two tertiary care hospitals in Srinagar, has received the highest number of critical patients from south and north Kashmir in the last 11 days.

Its medical superintendent, Dr Nazir Chowdhary, said that as many as 394 patients were brought to the hospital since July 9, a day after Wani’s death. Many of them had bullets, pellets, stones or other physical injuries.

The hospital has used as many as 320 units of blood for the injured but the supply of fresh blood is more than enough.

“The volunteers are still ready to donate. We have enough reserves,” Chowdhary said.

Read: From Ashfaq Majid Wani to Burhan Wani - Are protests in Kashmir a redux of 1990?

SMHS’ head of pathology department, Dr Ruby Reshi, told Hindustan Times that besides 320 blood units, they have also transfused 185 blood products, including 84 units of plasmas, to the injured so far.

“On an average, 30- 40 blood units are transfused to the injured every day at SMHS hospital,” Reshi said.

She said that they collected 350 units from donors even as the hospital already had 375 pints in stock even before the violence erupted.

“With each injury, we would get 20 donors mostly young boys and girls. Police also donated some 50 pints,” she said.

The hospital has started maintaining a list of prospective donors and calls them when the need arises.

“We are now collecting rare blood groups,” the doctor said.

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