SRINAGAR: The army on Monday sought to rebut the Kashmir Reader report regarding the force’s occupation of a hospital in Lolab, Kupwara, even as the correspondent stands by his story that was based on accounts of the officials concerned.
Army said the story—carried on March 24, 2016, under the headline ‘Army stays put in hospital building for 19 years, villagers suffer’—was “not based on facts and is an attempt to malign the fair image of the army”.
“The building located near the COB of an RR unit has been lying vacant even since it was handed over back to Block Medical Officer of Public Health Dept in July 2007,” the army said in a written communiqué.
The story was based on the account of chief medical officer, Kupwara, Dr G N Lone, who had told Kashmir Reader that army had never replied to letters requesting it to vacate the hospital building.
“We have correspondence with the army and health officials regarding the occupied building but never got a reply,” Dr Lone had said.
“If they are not going to vacate, then should pay the amount so that we can build another building.”
Also the deputy commissioner, Kupwara, Rajiv Ranjan, quoted in the story, had taken up the matter with block medical officer Sogam and directed him to take up the issue with the commanding officer of the unit.
“On the guidelines of DC Kupwara, I wrote a letter to the Commanding Officer (CO) of army and personally met him today to ask him to vacate the building. The CO said that he would take up this matter with General Officer Commanding (GOC) and soon this building will be vacated,” the report had quoted BMO Sogam, Dr Firdous, as saying.