ANANTNAG: With valley seething in anti-India anger, most of health department drivers have erased the names of pro-India politicians on the ambulances to avoid attacks during pro-freedom protests.
Most of the ambulances belonging to sub-district hospitals and primary health centers (PHCs) in rural areas have the names of donor MLAs or MPs written on them.
The lawmakers provide funds for purchase of the ambulances from their Constituency Development Fund.
However, since the uprising triggered by the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzafar Wani, ambulance drivers have painted over the names of pro-India politicians, some of whom have been attacked during the uprising.
While some of them have completely painted over the names, others have used adhesive tape to hide them.
“Some ten days ago days after Burhan’s killing I was ferrying a patient to district hospital Anantnag. On reaching near Krangsoo a group of youth stopped me to see whether I was ferrying a patient or passengers. On seeing the patient inside they did let me go. But as they saw the name of MLA on the vehicle they stopped me again,” the driver said.
He was later allowed to go only on the request of the attendants of the patient but with the warning that they should not see the name of the politician on his return.
“On reaching the hospital the first thing I did was to cover the MLA’s name with adhesive tape after consulting my boss,” the driver told Kashmir Reader.
Another ambulance driver from Bijbehara medical block, who also wished anonymity, said that he was forced to hide the names of pro-India politicians on the ambulance after facing the anger of the protesting youth at several places.
“The youth never stopped me from shifting the patients or ferrying the staff but the name of the politician written on ambulance was the only reason that I had to face their anger at several places forcing me to fix adhesive tape on his name,” driver told Kashmir Reader.
An official of the health department posted in Anantnag said that given the situation hiding names of the donor MLAs is no big deal.
“It is being doen for time being in the interest of patients and staffers,” the official told Kashmir Reader.
Chief medical officer Anantnag Dr Fazil Ali Kochak said that the ambulance drivers may have taken the measure on their own keeping in view the situation.