SHOPIAN/ANANTNAG: People put on quarantine in an isolation ward at Shopian hospital have accused health officials and government forces of “ill treating” them.
One of the quarantined persons told Kashmir Reader that no doctor visited him for three days while he was kept locked in a room. Shakir Ahmed, a resident of Hirpora, said that he reached Kashmir on the 22nd of this month along with 15 other men and went for home isolation, but they were brought to the hospital by the government’s surveillance team.
“I was provided food only two times in three days, no tea or any other food item. Authorities in the district hospital put a lock on the door of the ward and even for washroom purposes I was told to go through the window,” Shakir said.
Another quarantined person said that he went voluntarily for a medical check-up after returning from Aligarh. He said he went to the district hospital Shopian where he was asked to stay in a quarantine facility in the hospital premises. The room was situated in an old hospital building meant for Ayushman Bharat, he said.
“I was put in a room with no heating or washroom arrangements. Later I spoke to the district Covid-19 in-charge who told me to go home for the night and next morning I will be shifted to Srinagar. At home I again felt fever and left early morning for the hospital. But on the way I was intercepted by a team of police and CRPF. Despite showing them my hospital documents, in which “shifting of patient” was clearly written, they didn’t let me go to the hospital,” he said.
“After facing their abuses, I called the district in-charge who sent a vehicle to take me to hospital. But the driver didn’t allow me to sit in the vehicle and instead told me to walk by myself,” he said.
Both of these patients are now admitted at Pulwama district hospital, where they say the arrangements are much better. “Here doctors regularly come to us and ask about our well-being,” one among them said, adding that they were told their samples will be taken tomorrow for tests.
Both patients advised the people of Shopian to follow health advisories and safety measures. They said the arrangements in Shopian hospital are so bad that it is better to stay at home.
They also said that a wheelchair-borne patient who was brought with them to the hospital wasn’t helped by anyone in Shopian hospital. “When one of the staffers was told to help him to board the ambulance, the staffer replied with an abuse,” said the patient who wished not to be named.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Shopian Dr Ruqaya told Kashmir Reader that doctors don’t have safety kits and some issues may have occurred. “Now we are arranging wards with attached washrooms and once the safety kits for doctors and staffers arrive, there will be no such issue,” she said while regretting the inconvenience faced by patients.
Deputy Commissioner Shopian Choudhary Muhammad Yasin could not be reached despite repeated calls and SMSs. The Chief Medical Officer of Shopian and Medical Superintendent of the district hospital were not also available when this reporter tried to reach them on phone.
In Pulwama, people who are in home quarantine for the past eight days said they were shifted to an ill-equipped government quarantine centre on Saturday where each one of them has to share a room with at least five other people.
Students from Rohmoo Pulwama, who had arrived from Delhi last week, told Kashmir Reader that they had themselves approached the authorities for screening and other formalities.
“The authorities, however, asked us to remain in home quarantine, which we did till this morning when we received a call,” one of the students, Owais Manzoor Dar, a research scholar at Jamia Millia Islamia, told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the authorities told them over phone that someone who had travelled in a train along with them had tested positive.
“We were asked to cooperate and an ambulance was sent. To not create panic in the village, we walked for a kilometer till we reached the ambulance and then we were ferried to a private school in main town Pulwama,” Dar said.
At the private school, Solace International School, the students were shocked to see no arrangements at all. Some mattresses lay on the ground, while there was no other facility.
“I don’t know whether the room had even been sanitised or not. Worse, we had to share the room with five other people,” Dar told Kashmir Reader.
The students lament that they were in home quarantine with every possible facility but now their situation has become oppressive.
“We have not ventured back into the room and are now standing in the lawn,” the students said.
Deputy Commissioner Pulwama Dr Raghav Langar said that he was in a meeting and was not able to talk.
(With inputs from SUHAIL SHAH)