Police stop CMO on way to work in Kashmir’s Bandipora, doctors to hold protest
A day after a senior cardiologist allegedly complained of being harassed by cops in the city, the chief medical officer (CMO) of Bandipora was stopped on his way to work by the police on Tuesday.
“I was going to visit quarantine and sample collection centres when the police stopped me near Nusoo area in Bandipora at a checkpoint and told me to take another route. Despite telling them I was the CMO and had urgent official work, they didn’t listen,” said CMO Tajamul Hussain.
Following this, the CMO got off the vehicle and shouted his concerns at the police. “Complete health system will fall without us. Can’t you see this is CMO’s vehicle? You are harassing doctors. Yesterday, you beat up a doctor in Srinagar. Are we coming out for ourselves? We are risking our lives to save the people,” the CMO is seen saying in a video of the incident now doing rounds on social media.
A cop on duty is seen telling the CMO to talk to the SP concerned.
Hussain said he was only allowed to proceed after the Bandipora deputy commissioner (DC) intervened in the matter. “They (police) will not let us work,” the CMO lamented.
Meanwhile, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) has announced a black-band protest across the Union territory following the recent incidents in which doctors were allegedly manhandled, harassed and not allowed to reach hospitals.
“We are announcing a one day black band protest on Wednesday over the excesses by government forces against healthcare providers,” said DAK president Dr Suhail Naik.
The Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) of Government Medical College and Hospital, Srinagar, has also condemned the incident calling it ‘highly unfortunate’. Moreover, doctors affiliated with GMCH Srinagar and its associated hospitals held a protest on Tuesday at Super Speciality Hospital in Srinagar against the government for failing to ensure their security.
Kashmir health services director Samir Matoo said he will take up the matter with the higher ups after getting a complete report from the CMO. “Such incidents demoralise the staff,” he said.
However, Bandipora DC Shahbaz Mirza said the matter has been resolved. “There was some confusion due to the traffic restrictions ordered in the market as they had planned to open up certain areas,” he said.
Bandipora SSP Rahul Malik said ‘unnecessary weight’ was being given to the issue as they were following orders of the district administration. “The matter was quickly resolved,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kashmir inspector general of police (IGP) Vijay Kumar on Tuesday ordered police officers to facilitate Covid-19 warriors, especially doctors and paramedics, in the valley. “You are advised to hold a meeting with the concerned CMOs and request them to brief the doctors and paramedics to co-operate with police,” the IGP said.
On Monday, a senior cardiologist of Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital, Dr Syed Maqbool, had lodged a police complaint and alleged that he was beaten up and harassed in downtown area of Srinagar recently by the policeman deployed on the road while he was on his way to work. The police have started an enquiry while maintaining that the doctor had manhandled the cop on duty.
These issues have created uproar on social media in Srinagar with many doctors saying this is how frontline workers in Kashmir are being treated by the police.