Kashmir Doc Says Hospitals in Crisis, Then Cops Take Him Away
Omar’s brother and an acquaintance took to Twitter and questioned why he was allegedly arrested by Kashmir cops.
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Given the restrictions imposed by the government in Kashmir, Omar Salim, a urologist at Government Medical College, while speaking to the media at a press enclave in Srinagar on Monday, 26 August, was taken away by the police, right after he mentioned the health crisis that Kashmir is facing, The Telegraph reported.
“Holding a ‘request and not a protest’ placard, Omar spoke to the media for around 10 minutes. Before he could continue, the police whisked him away to an unknown location,” the report stated.
Curiously, the police vehicle in which Omar was taken away had its number plate covered.
On 5 August, the Modi-led government had abrogated Article 370 which gives special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir. Following which, curfew was imposed in J&K. While restrictions have been eased in Jammu, the situation is not the same in most parts of Kashmir.
Omar’s brother and an acquaintance took to Twitter and questioned the reason for his alleged arrest.
According to The Telegraph, Omar had said that as a result of the clampdown, patients specifically those who are patients of dialysis and chemotherapy, were finding it difficult to travel to get themselves treated.
While speaking to BBC Urdu, he said that patients registered under the Ayushman Bharat scheme are unable to enjoy the benefits of the scheme, citing restrictions imposed on internet and landline connections as the reason. He said the treatment that is offered for free as a part of the scheme, is being paid for by patients.
Explaining the link between internet access and the scheme, he said that the entire process relies on internet as it is based on smart cards which are swiped and consequently, the details of the patients are checked on the system.
Although he was not sure about whether any deaths have happened because of these curbs, he knew some cases where appointments had to be scheduled for a later date.
“I have a patient who required chemotherapy on 6 August. He came to us on 24 August but could not obtain the chemotherapy medicine. Another patient whose chemotherapy drug has to be obtained from Delhi was unable to place an order for the drug. His chemotherapy has been postponed indefinitely,” Omar said, The Telegraph report added.
He further told BBC Urdu that if a patient needs three sessions of dialysis per week, but is able to manage only one, then the patient can die.
Unable to Access Healthcare, Write 18 Doctors
A letter written by 18 doctors which was published on 16 August in the medical journal The BMJ, stated that due to the restrictions imposed in the Valley, people are finding it difficult to access the healthcare facilities. For instance, people are unable to call ambulances and take the patient to the concerned hospital.
Referring to instances of pellet gun injuries, it stated that some patients have been admitted in hospitals. “Only those who can make it to a hospital can get some care. Some doctors worry about their patients on dialysis as only a few patients requiring dialysis from Srinagar have been able to come for treatment, while those living outside have not been able to reach the hospital,” reads the letter.
Few medicines are out of stock in the local shops and one person had to fly to New Delhi to buy medicines, the letter claimed.
(With inputs from The Telegraph)
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Topics: Kashmir Jammu & Kashmir Modi Government
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