SRINAGAR: The state government has given clear instructions to the government forces to consider employees’ identity cards as curfew passes, but doctors, paramedics and ambulance drivers continue to be harassed and their movement obstructed for not having curfew passes.
Staff of SHMS hospital were recently asked to show their curfew pass when they were travelling to their homes in ambulances. A senior doctor who was in the group told Kashmir Reader that on Thursday evening their ambulance was stopped by forces at Eidgah in old city. They were told by a CRPF cop to not take this route if they were without the curfew pass.
A head of department at SMHS told Kashmir Reader that not having a curfew pass has forced him to travel not in his car but in the hospital ambulance.
“I usually drive to my home in my personal car but since the last week I am boarding the hospital ambulance to go home. The forces have threatened to hit me if I travel without a curfew pass,” he said.
On Thursday evening, CRPF sub-inspector Bhim Singh shot a bullet at ambulance driver Ghulam Mohammad Sofi at Safa Kadal when he was ferrying patients from Kangan. The driver was hit in his arm but he continued driving until he reached SMHS hospital. He is now admitted at Bone and Joint Hospital.
Public Relations Officer of the CRPF in Srinagar, Rajesh Yadav, said that sub-inspector Singh has been suspended and a departmental inquiry ordered into the incident. SSP Srinagar Amit Kumar said an FIR had been registered for the incident.
A facebook post by Indian Express editor Muzamil Jaleel mentions an incident where a doctor and his ambulance driver were stopped on the road between Firdous cinema and Eidgah and the ambulance driver was told by CRPF and police that they are “going to kill ambulance drivers.”
Principal of the Government Medical College Srinagar, Dr Kaesar Ahmad, told Kashmir Reader that he will issue curfew passes to hospital staff from Friday. Director of Health Services Kashmir Dr Saleem-ur-Rahman said that his staff had not faced any untoward situation but he will ask his chief medical officers to get curfew passes issued for staff from deputy commissioners.
Earlier, an attack on an ambulance driver had prompted the GMC principal to complain to the government. He had also asked CRPF men to not attack hospital staff. Nearly 150 ambulances have been damaged by government forces since the uprising began on July 8.
Meanwhile, an association of ambulance drivers has threatened to go on strike if the state government does not take appropriate steps for their safety. Members of the association held a sit-in at SMHS hospital on Friday morning. A meeting will be held on Saturday to discuss the future course of action.
Ambulance drivers of the Help Poor Voluntary Trust have gone on strike since the attack on Ghulam Mohammad Sofi. A member of the trust, Farooq Ahmad, said that volunteers are now themselves driving the ambulances.
“A corpse could not be taken away from the hospital for three hours because of no driver being available. A volunteer then drove the ambulance himself,” Farooq mentioned.