Stop Blinding Our Youth With Pellets: Kashmir Docs Threaten Strike

Stop Blinding Our Youth With Pellets: Kashmir Docs Threaten Strike

India

Doctors from all the government hospitals in Srinagar are protesting the use of pellet guns on the Kashmiri youth. Doctors of Government Medical College, Srinagar on 10 August staged a symbolic protest with one eye bandaged to represent the hundreds that have been injured or have lost their eyes during the ongoing unrest in the Kashmir Valley.

We are a part of the government, we can’t go against it. But we are Kashmiris too. Our hearts ache when we see our people being killed and disabled brutally. As a part of this government, we want to show our disagreements. We want them to stop the use of pellets on our youth. 
Farooq Ahmed Ganie, Head Pharmacist, Bone and Joints Hospital, Srinagar

Ganie is also a General Secretary of the Medical Employees Federation, Jammu and Kashmir.

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“We are a part of the government, we can’t go against it. But we are Kashmiris too. Our hearts ache when we see our people being killed and disabled brutally.” (Photo Courtesy: Pradeepika Saraswat)
“We are a part of the government, we can’t go against it. But we are Kashmiris too. Our hearts ache when we see our people being killed and disabled brutally.” (Photo Courtesy: Pradeepika Saraswat)

Farooq sounds very angry initially as he says:

We have seen 2008, 2010, 2012. We have never seen such a brutality. The number of injured is unprecedented. We have been working round the clock. Our employees have not been given a single leave post Eid. Our regular patients are suffering as we have to share our limited resources to treat the pellet and bullet injured that are rushing in continuously. It should stop.

“Those who still have some place left in their hearts for India, wouldn’t they lose it when they see their people suffering from Indian bullets and pellets?” he asks.

At 11:30 in the morning doctors and paramedical staff of the hospital came out holding placards that say, ‘Wake up, UNICEF, WHO, MSF, pellets have blinded our future,’ and ‘Stop pellet guns and save innocents in Kashmir.’

They shouted slogans against the use of ‘non-lethal’ pellet guns that have taken many lives in past one month of unrest. The protest was not specifically about the use of pellets, but about atrocities by security forces on Kashmiris.

At 11:30 in the morning doctors and paramedical staff of the hospital came out holding placards that say, ‘Wake up, UNICEF, WHO, MSF, pellets have blinded our future’. (Photo Courtesy: Pradeepika Saraswat)
At 11:30 in the morning doctors and paramedical staff of the hospital came out holding placards that say, ‘Wake up, UNICEF, WHO, MSF, pellets have blinded our future’. (Photo Courtesy: Pradeepika Saraswat)
They shouted slogans against the use of ‘non-lethal’ pellet guns that have taken many lives in past one month of unrest. (Photo Courtesy: Pradeepika Saraswat)
They shouted slogans against the use of ‘non-lethal’ pellet guns that have taken many lives in past one month of unrest. (Photo Courtesy: Pradeepika Saraswat)
We have carried out 80 fire injury surgeries in last one month. Most of the bullets went in Femur, Tibia and shoulders. The number of injured is large but we have been trying to do our best to help them. Ministry has allowed us to buy anything we need, without following the regular time consuming formalities. We are also asked to provide food to everyone in the hospital.
Dr Abdul Rashid Budoo, Medical Superintendent, Bone and Joints Hospital

Hesitant in speaking against or in favour of the protest held by the hospital employees, he says:

India is one of the founder members of Non-aligned Movement, India is one of the very few countries who has been helping Palestinian cause. It is a shame that such a country is killing and blinding its own people.

He adds that it was his personal view.

Chair-bound Ghulam Hasan with the protesting doctors. (Photo Courtesy: Pradeepika Saraswat)
Chair-bound Ghulam Hasan with the protesting doctors. (Photo Courtesy: Pradeepika Saraswat)

Among the protestors is a wheel chair-bound Ghulam Hasan, a paramedical staff who was beaten by armed forces on his way to the hospital.

They refused to accept my hospital identity card as my curfew pass, despite the instructions that medical people should be allowed. They hit me with the butts of their guns.
Ghulam Hasan

Local boys brought him to the hospital, later. The beating left both of his legs and one of his hands broken.

The protesting medicos threatened that all 5 lakh employees would take to streets if the government doesn’t stop using pellet guns immediately.

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