SRINAGAR: The strike call given by doctors of Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital entered the second day on Thursday. The doctors assembled at the lawns of the Government Medical College Srinagar and held a sit-in protest to demand an FIR against and suspension of the Station House Officer (SHO) of Ram Munshi Bagh police station, Mohammad Ishaq, who assaulted a doctor of SMHS on Tuesday.
The doctors also said that in the pre-dawn hours of Thursday, about eight men barged into the ward where Dr Owais Wani, the doctor who was beaten up by the SHO, was admitted. The men ransacked the ward and manhandled one doctor who was in the ward at that time.
Hospital staff who witnessed the attack said that one of the men was carrying an iron rod with which he tried to hit the doctor present in the ward, after chasing him around the ward. “The paramedics, including female nurses, hid beneath the beds to save themselves from the hoodlums. They were crying for help but nobody was around, nor any security guard manning the gate,” a witness of the scene said.
Dr Wani said that when he woke up from sleep he saw the staff in the ward looking terrified. “We couldn’t find out who the men were and what their intention was. I don’t know whether the attack is related to me, but one thing is clear that no one is safe even inside the hospital,” he said.
On Tuesday night, Dr Wani said he was assaulted by the police officer Mohammad Ishaq inside the ICU of SMHS Hospital. Dr Wani and other doctors of the hospital have alleged that the police officer barged into the ICU along with other policemen, all in civvies, and beat up Dr Wani, who was looking after one the police officer’s relatives in the ICU.
The protesting doctors are now demanding that the hospital be given a full-fledged ‘Hospital Police’.
“Though we have some security guards manning the gates and other sensitive spots, but they are poorly trained. If a hospital police is provided to us, there will be a check on incidents of violence within the hospital,” one of the protesting doctors said.
The doctors have gone on an indefinite strike, demanding the immediate suspension of police officer Mohammad Ishaq and an FIR against him as the condition for returning to work.
Principal of Government Medical College Srinagar, Dr Samia Rashid told Kashmir Reader that the administration is doing everything possible to address the concerns of the doctors.
“We are seriously pursuing this case. We haven’t lodged an FIR because the other party wants to lodge a counter FIR against the doctor. Rather than making the situation more complex, we are trying to solve the issue amicably,” she said.
She said she was hoping that some sense would prevail soon. She said that most doctors have agreed to call off the strike “but a few people are adamant on continuing the strike, without caring about patients who come from far-off places for treatment,” she said.
Meanwhile, the normal functioning of government medical college and SMHS Hospital was affected by the strike call given by the senior doctors at the hospitals. While the emergency services triage unit were operating as per normal, the out patients department of hospital remained closed for the second day.