Hundreds of volunteers have come together in Srinagar to arrange food and medical treatment for the people injured in the recent waves of violence that have rocked Kashmir following the killing of top insurgent Burhan Wani.
Despite a 14-day curfew in the Valley, people have been working round-the-clock, providing medicines and even arranging ambulances to ferry the wounded.
The volunteers and NGOs have erected tents outside the hospitals. Some organisations even provide tea three times a day to victims and attendants.
“The volunteers are all common people. Some are young, some are old, some are illiterate, and some are literate, all are driven by love for their people,” said a volunteer outside Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital, where 400 patients have been treated since July 8, when the violence first broke out.
The volunteer, who is a businessman and refused to be identified, said they made contributions from their own pockets and received donations.
Kashmir has been on the boil since thousands of people clashed with security forces, a day after Wani was gunned down. 44 people have been killed and nearly 2,000 wounded – 600 of them due to the controversial pellet guns that the government has pledged to review.
Besides the volunteers, many NGOs are providing medicines that are not available in hospitals. Among such organizations are the Help Poor Voluntary Trust (HPVT), Tawheed Forum J&K, Athrout, Sakhawat, Allama Iqbal Charitable Medical and Diagnostic Centre and Daarul Khair led by moderate separatist Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
“During these days of unrest, we have distributed medicines worth Rs 5 lakh at SMHS. The beneficiaries included bullet and pellet victims, Amarnath Yatris injured in an accident besides normal patients,” said Farooq Ahmad Bhat, founder of HPVT, stressing the medicines included some life-saving drugs.
The organisation also provided free medicines at the Bone and Joint Hospital, a super-specialty facility catering to some 75 patients. The institute’s medical superintendent, Dr Rashid Budoo,was all praise for the volunteers.