Srinagar: The ambulance driver who was shot at at Eidgah Srinagar on Thursday evening had seen the CRPF trooper aim and load his gun at him, and had he not put his arm over his head the pellets would have hit him in the head and eyes.
“He (the CRPF trooper) was alone. Another trooper was a bit far, while a group of ten to twenty was standing at a distance. The moment I saw him training his gun at me I knew he was going to shoot me,” Ghulam Mohammad Sofi told Kashmir Reader.
Sofi instantly put his right arm over his head before the pellets hit him. He began to bleed profusely. The blood is still all over the driver’s seat in the ambulance, which is stationed at SMHS. Sofi is being treated at Bone and Joint Hospital Barzulla.
Sofi was coming from Kangan area of Ganderbal with two patients. After being hit, he continued driving the ambulance with his left hand until he reached SMHS.
“I had to drop two patients. One at GB Pant Hospital and another one at Bone & Joint Hospital. But after I was hit, I drove straight to SMHS,” Sofi said. Once he reached SMHS, he fainted. He drove for about one kilometre while bleeding profusely.
Volunteers who receive the injured arriving at SMHS were surprised when Sofi cried out for help and fell down from the ambulance.
“I waved towards the driver to come forward but he didn’t respond. All of a sudden he cried for help and came out of the ambulance and fell. We ran towards him. There was blood all over him and in the ambulance,” a volunteer at the hospital said.
Ambulances have been facing the wrath of security forces ever since people began protesting against the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani.
Recently, a police officer posted in Bijbehara was accused of stopping an ambulance ferrying a patient referred to Srinagar. He later denied the accusations saying he only stopped the ambulance for ten minutes.
The president of the Ambulance Drivers’ Association of Ganderbal district said that after the firing at Sofi, none of the drivers feels safe. “Who knows what may happen to ambulance drivers at some other place,” Abdul Majeed said.
“For us, patients are patients, whoever they are. Be they civilians or army soldiers, we have to take them to a place where they can get medical attention,” Majeed said.