In midnight manoeuvre, Delhi HC tells police to secure patients
In an unprecedented move, the Delhi High Court heard a plea at 12.30am on Wednesday when a petitioner approached it to seek directions to the police to ensure safe passage of those requiring emergency treatment from Al Hind Hospital in Mustafabad to bigger hospitals.
The matter was heard at Justice S Muralidhar’s residence where Justice AJ Bhambhani joined him. Advocate Suroor Mander brought the plea before them and in their presence were joint commissioner Alok Kumar, DCP (crime) Rajesh Deo and Delhi government counsel Sanjoy Ghose.
The issue was that the police allegedly refused to provide security to ambulances. The court directed the police to ensure safe transfer of patients to Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) hospital.
The court heard the case again later in the day in the court in the presence of the same judges.
Petitioner Mander confirmed that the patients were treated, and that the earlier order had a positive effect in general. The court appreciated the police.
It then issued a slew of directions to the Delhi government and police while commenting that “security is for everyone”.
“Highest constitutional functionary move in Z+ security. This is the time to reach out and show that this security is for everyone,” a bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice AJ Bhambhani said. It said that every victim should be attended by the highest functionary so that they are assured of their safety.
“Keep aside your political differences and make your highest functionary to visit the victims,” the court said. “The fear that we cannot return to our house must go…this is a country which is plural, it is inclusive.”
The bench ordered the police to ensure safe passage for fire engines and ambulances, and also to send requisitions for adequate number of private ambulances from private hospitals and other charitable organisations.
The court was informed that many people had been displaced from their homes due to the riots and are afraid to return till the situation is effectively under control.
Advocate Rahul Mehra, standing counsel of the Delhi government (criminal), told the court that the victims can be accommodated in the night shelters and community centres till then. The court ordered the Delhi government to ensure adequate number of such shelters.
The bench also appointed advocate Zubeda Begum to assist it and co-ordinate between the various authorities in this regard. The police also told the court that they would request a district judge to assign “designated Night Magistrates”, who would be available after sunset to address the urgent needs.
SCENE AT AL HIND HOSPITAL
“Have you seen movies on Bhopal gas tragedy? It was like that over here yesterday. We had to down the shutter because every inch of the hospital was full of those injured. There were many more outside banging on the shutter asking to be let in,” said MD Meraj, a dentist who was among those trying to keep the 250 people with severe injuries alive. He is the brother of the owner of Al Hind hospital, where 24 people had been held hostage by the mobs outside.
There were seven people who had been knifed in vital organs. “It was as if a doctor had told them where to stab. We were stitching up people, doing whatever we could. When our supplies ran out, we asked the medical stores nearby, all of them sent over whatever supplies they had,” said Dr MA Anwar, who is the owner of the nursing home.
People trained in traditional forms of medicine also came to the hospital to help. Sheets and mattresses were put up in an empty hall to accommodate the patients. Ropes had been tied across the room to hand intra-venous bottles. “There were just three oxygen cylinders and two Ambu bags. We taught the people who had come with the injured on how to administer emergency first-aid like CPR and mouth-to-mouth respiration to keep the people alive till the ambulances arrived,” said Dr Anwar.
But until the midnight court hearing the ambulances at different parts of the city were stuck because police were yet to provide security.