How SKIMS gave misleading figures about pellet gun victims

SRINAGAR: Authorities at Kashmir’s premier tertiary healthcare centre SK Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) are brazenly untruthful about the figures related to the victims of pellet guns used by police and paramilitary forces during pro-freedom protests across the Valley in recent past, as suggested by a series of RTI applications.
SKIMS authorities initially denied appropriate information under an RTI application about the pellet injury cases received at the hospital between October 2010 to October 2013. And later, on the applicant’s complaint, they furnished a lessened-figure that contradicts the previous response as well as the hospital records.
Responding to the RTI filed by one Abdul Manaan Bukhari of Baghat Kanipora here, the authorities at SKIMS said, “103 pellet injury cases were reported in the hospital in three years.” However, they didn’t furnish details about “the number of patients who required operative procedures; deaths caused due to pellet injuries; mode of treatment; and hazardous effects of the use of pellet gun” as sought by the applicant.
Finding the response “vague and incomplete”, the applicant resubmitted an application to the first appellate authority. But in reply the authorities said “only 71 patients were admitted in the hospital with pellet injuries.”
The authorities also claimed that “no patient with pellet gun injury underwent any kind of surgery, and that no deaths occurred at the hospital (due to pellet injuries) between October 2010 and October 2013.”
The figures provided by the SKIMS officials both times, however, contradict the data from a joint survey conducted by the departments of General Surgery, Radiodiagnois and Imaging, and Hospital Administration at SKIMS in 2010. The survey had showed that 198 cases of pellet injuries were admitted in the hospital between June 2010 to September 2010, and that six of the patients had lost their lives.
The survey had also revealed that “72.7 % of patients were aged 16-25 years, and the most common sites of injury were the extremities (47.9%), abdomen (36.3%) and chest (31.3%).” It also says that out of 80 patients admitted to the hospital for their injuries, 43 (53.7%) required an operative procedure while six deaths (3.03%) were observed.”
The data was, in fact, compiled into a research paper, titled ‘Pellet gunfire injuries among agitated mobs in Kashmir’, by the SKIMS medicos—Majid Mushtaque, Mohammad F Mir, Muneer Bhat, Fazl Q Parray, Samina A Khanday, Rayees A Dar and Aijaz A Malik—and was published in Turkish Journal of Trauma & Emergency Surgery’.