THE CITIZEN BUREAU | 9 AUGUST, 2016
SRINAGAR: In continuing acts of highhandedness by forces, police and paramilitary personnel Monday night barged into a hospital in north Kashmir and allegedly threatened the volunteer groups serving the wounded and their attendants there, to vacate the premises or prepare to face consequences.
“They detained some of our volunteers and seized the boxes of medicines which were being distributed among the needy at the hospital,” one of the volunteers at Sopore Sub-District Hospital, where the incident took place last night, said, wishing to remain anonymous.
Official sources said the action of the forces at the north Kashmir medical facility has been ordered by the state government against all the volunteer groups which have been working at different hospitals across the Valley where the wounded from the ongoing uprising are brought for treatment.
“We provide free of cost medical treatment as well as free medicines to the wounded. Under the prevailing circumstances, having such voluntary groups in the hospitals only vitiates atmosphere and disturbs peace,” a senior officer of the health department said.
The action by the forces sparked anger at the Sopore hospital following which the attendants and the hospital staff came together in protest, raising slogans.
The incident comes a day after the forces fired teargas shells at mourners outside Srinagar’s SMHS hospital which has been overwhelmed with patients brought from the sites of clashes in different parts of the Valley between civilian protesters and government forces.
The firing outside SHMS Hospital was strongly condemned by Doctors Association of Kashmir which accused the authorities of “deliberately targeting hospitals”. “The latest string of attacks on medical facilities appears to be part of a pattern to target medics and hospitals. It appears to have become a new norm,” the association said in a statement.
“In Chadoora, forces barged into hospital and beat staff and vandalized the hospital property. Last month, forces had resorted to similar shelling inside the premises of SMHS hospital. These repeated attacks on vital lifelines leave patients no choice but to flee,” the statement said.
The incident at SHMS Hospital took place when mourners gathered to offer funeral prayers of a 21-year old, one of the three victims who were killed in retaliatory action against protesters by government forces on Friday.
Earlier on Monday, a south Kashmir based freelance photojournalist, Muneeb-ul-Islam, was allegedly was assaulted by CRPF personnel at Bijbehara in Anantnag district. “I was used as a shield by CRPF personnel who pushed me in the line of stones throw at them by protesters,” Muneeb told The Citizen.
Earlier, a Kupwara based journalist was similarly attacked and injured when forces fired pellets to disperse a demonstration