Srinagar: The Medical Faculty Association [MFA] on Wednesday held a silent sit-in protest at the Government Medical College (GMC) against the killings of civilians and the indiscriminate use of pellet guns in Kashmir.
Wearing white aprons with one eye blindfolded, the members of MFA held up banners and placards that read, ‘Stop mayhem of deaths, disabilities and darkness’, ‘Stop killing of innocent kids; they have not lived their life yet’. Many professors, assistant professors and lecturers of GMC and associated colleges took part in the demonstration and called for immediate end to the use of pellet guns.
General secretary of MFA, Dr Sajad Majid Qazi termed the use of pellet guns as “sheer barbarism”.
Dr Sajad Khanday of the ophthalmology department said that more than 350 persons had received serious eye injuries from pellets. He said that the number of patients with eye injuries is not slowing even after a month.
“Every day we are treating patients with eye injuries but the influx of patients with serious eye injuries is mounting, mostly on Fridays and Saturdays. This shows the arrogance of the authorities,’’ he said.
Women doctors who were part of the protest called the situation in Kashmir abnormal, saddening and painful. Dr Ruby Reshi, head of department, pathology, sobbed as she spoke of the “genocide” in which children were being blinded and maimed.
“It was better for them to die rather than to be blinded. They cannot realize what has befallen on them. They will have a miserable life ahead,” she said.
Dr Fareeda Noor and Dr Sheema said that children who have lost their vision have lost everything.
Doctors from the ophthalmology department said they had never seen endophthalmitis, a serious eye infection that occurs after eye injury, before this uprising, even in 2010. Doctors said that endophthalmitis is often caused due to delay in medical treatment.
“These injuries and brutalities will become part of public memory, of folklore. It will remain in our hearts and souls forever,” said Dr Masooma Rizvi from Lal Ded Hospital.
Dr Shehnaz Taing from LD Hospital said that the government forces’ attack on ambulances and on women was despicable. “When unarmed women are being thrashed by so-called security forces, it highlights the kind of democracy there is in the country,” she said.
Dr Shehnaz said that such brutalities justify armed resistance and stone-pelting was a genuine expression of protest against double standards, disparity and cruelties.
The MFA also condemned the use of teargas and pepper gas shells in and around hospital premises, calling it detrimental for admitted patients. The MFA has appealed for safe passage to ambulances.