Pakharpora (Char-i- Sharief): Police have been accused of holding employees of sub-district hospital Pakharpora hostage while fleeing an angry crowd that was protesting after a shootout in which a civilian and a police officer were injured.
Hospital property was damaged by the crowd that was trying to storm the hospital to beat up the policemen.
“The policemen ordered us to not venture out. They said ‘if we die you die’. It was a nightmare as they made us a shield,” said a group of employees who requested anonymity.
The incident occurred after a policeman was fired at and the bullet that pierced his face hit a civilian in the head.
After the firing, a protest erupted and the protesters ran after policemen who took refuge in the hospital.
“People chased them and pelted the hospital with stones which wounded many employees of the hospital. They damaged property as well,” said an employee.
The official identified wounded employees as Irfan Ahmad Dar, Irshad Ahmad, Ghulam Mohi-ud- din, Fayaz Ahmad and Sajada Akhtar.
This reporter while visiting the hospital on Saturday saw glass shards, mangled windowpanes and damaged equipments.
The official said ECG apparatus, oxygen cylinders, microscopes, generator, solar power panels and dental equipments worth about Rs 75 lakh suffered damages.
Block Medical Officer Chari Sharief Dr Niyaz Ahmad said, “It will take more than a month to start proper treatment as hospital has suffered huge damages. Most of the equipments got damaged. Our injured staff has started work again.’’
Many locals, however, blamed people from other parts of the Valley who had come to offer prayers at a shrine for damaging hospital property.
Locals also alleged the government forces went on a rampage and damaged whatever came their way.
“They beat up people who came in their way, smashed the windshield of cars, and damaged goods of the shopkeepers and roadside vendors,” said Rafiq Ahmad.
About 40 persons suffered minor injuries and three youths were detained.
Shopkeepers alleged that besides damaging their shops forces also ran away with the cash worth thousands of rupees.
A woman, who runs grocery store, said she had a narrow escape as forces targeted her with teargas shell and damaged her stock of fruits and vegetables.
Another non-local shopkeeper who runs a sweets shop said the forces have stolen Rs 10,000 from besides damaging sweets in his shop.
Officials at police station Pakpherpora declined to comment and asked this reporter to contact Station house officer Chari Sharief. However, the SHO also refused to comment and asked the reporter to “contact my bosses”.