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Could Narendra Dabholkar's life have been saved?

india Updated: Aug 21, 2013 22:25 IST
Yogesh Joshi
Yogesh Joshi
Hindustan Times
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Could prominent rationalist and anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar’s life been saved despite two bullets hitting him?

A day after Dabholkar succumbed to bullet injuries, Sassoon hospital records indicated that there was more than an hour-long delay in bringing Dabholkar to the hospital after he was shot at by two assailants.

While the police said Dabholkar was hit at 7.20 am, hospital records clearly showed that he was admitted at 8.30 am --- a delay of 80 minutes.

In their press note, police said Dabholkar was moved to hospital in an “injured condition”, but the doctors "announced him dead before treatment". The doctors at Sassoon said he was “brought dead.”

“The police brought Dabholkar to Sassoon Hospital at 8:30 am. He was brought dead,” hospital superintendent DG Kulkarni told Hindustan Times over the phone.

Kulkarni said, "In cases of bullet injuries such as this one, the chances of survival even for some time after the incident are less."

Surprisingly, the delay was caused despite a police post situated barely 25 metres away from the spot where Dabholkar was attacked. Two motorbike-borne gunmen, in their mid-20s, fired at Dabholkar using 7.65 mm pistol when the crusader was returning home from a morning walk on Tuesday. Among the four bullets fired, two hit Dabholkar’s neck.

Pictures clicked by onlookers using their mobile phones also showed Dabholkar lying in a pool of blood on the Omkareshwar bridge, while cops were busy collecting evidence and regulating traffic. It was, however, unclear whether he was alive or dead for next few minutes after sustaining injuries.

When asked about the delay, joint commissioner of police Sanjeev Kumar Singhal initially refused to admit there was any time lapse. He, however, later said, “We will probe if there was indeed any delay.”