SRINAGAR: Medicos in the Kashmir Valley appear divided over charges of molestation leveled against Director Health Services Kashmir (DHSK), Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman, and three other medical officers by a nurse.
While one group of the medicos on Sunday termed the allegations against DHSK a “conspiracy” and threatened mass resignation if any action is taken against the accused without a “scientific probe”, another group said they would observe ‘black day’ on Monday against “the shameful and monstrous act.”
A nurse posted in south Kashmir has accused the DHSK, a Chief Medical Officer (CMO), a Block Medical Officer (BMO) and a Medical Superintendent (MS) of trying to molest her at different instances. An FIR has been lodged against the accused and the investigations have been started.
However, the representatives of Joint Amalgam of Doctors and Paramedics (JADPA) said the accusations “are part of a conspiracy leveled by the persons who are habitual trouble creators for everyone in the Health department.”
“The complainant and her husband have been habitual trouble creators for everyone in the department. There are several cases registered against them for being absent from duty and for harassment,” Dr Rehana Kausar, Incharge Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) told reporters at a press conference here. She read the documents related to the cases the complainant and her husband have faced.
“This (molestation) accusation now is a conspiracy against the Director,” Dr Kausar said.
Demanding a “scientific probe” in the case, the doctors threatened to give up their administrative posts in case the accused were acted against before the truth comes out.
“We want a scientific probe be conducted in the case. If our Director is found guilty, punish him. But if the complaint is proven wrong, we want to know what punishment will she (complainant) be given,” Dr Firdous Ahmad, Secretary Field Doctors Welfare Association Kashmir (FDWAK), a component of JADPA said.
“If action is taken against (DHSK), the CMO, the BMO and the MS without the truth having come out, we will give up our administrative positions. We support them, and if they are proven guilty, we all shall be beheaded,” Dr Firdous said.
Accusing media of running a media trial against the accused, he said the media was “carrying only unilateral version” of the story.
“It pains us to see you support something which is not based on truth. We also appeal the leaders to be careful in giving out statements,” he said. “If we encourage false complaints, the system will collapse. The way this case is being projected in media, we are eroding the discipline in all departments functioning in Kashmir.”
Assistant Director Health, Dr Jalil Wani, who was present in the press conference, said he was present in the office of the DHSK at the time the complainant had visited the office.
“I was present in the office and the Director Health was also sitting with us. The time was between 2-3 pm, and the Director, because of being busy, asked us to hear the people who had come to see him. The people started entering the office, and this (nurse) also entered,” Dr Wani said.
“The Director asked her the purpose of her visit, and she replied that she had been sent by the CMO concerned. The Director asked her to work properly and assured her that her transfer will be looked into. Then, she left, and this is all that happened,” he said.
‘Arrest DHSK/others or face agitation’
President Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) Dr Nisar-ul-Hassan on Sunday said that doctors and paramedics will observe black day on Monday against “molestation on a staff nurse by DHSK and other officials.”
“Doctors and paramedics will wear black bands against this shameful and monstrous act. This shocking incident has send shivers down our spine and we are speechless,” Dr Nisar said in a statement.
“It is difficult for females to work in health department where officials are misusing their positions to exploit them on one pretext or the other. It is because of these devils that medical profession has lost its sheen. Medical professionals have lost dignity and honor because of such elements,” he said.
“The inaction of government against officials involved is safe to conclude that immorality in Kashmir is state backed. Whole nation is up in arms against molesters but government instead of action against the culprits is shielding them,” Dr Nisar said.
He said, Dr Saleem “is using his stooges to malign the image of the victim and feigning his innocence. He is using his accomplices to influence government and police to hush up the mater. How can investigation be fair when the officials are holding their respective positions?”
DAK demanded that DHSK and other officials “involved in molestation” should be immediately arrested, removed from their positions, and that an independent probe be ordered.
“If government does not take immediate action against the culprits, DAK will launch a statewide agitation,” it said.