Ambulance driver attacked by CRPF; still manages to take patients for treatment

By Raqib Hameed Naik,

Srinagar: As the Kashmir unrest continues, it seems the brutalities of the Indian security forces have only worsened with time. After attacking hospitals and doctors, now an ambulance driver ferrying patients was showered with pellets by troopers of CRPF. His fault? Carrying patients.

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Ghulam Mohammad, the ambulance driver was ferrying patients from Kangan of Ganderbal district to Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital in Srinagar. As he entered into reached Safakadal in downtown Srinagar, the CRPF troppers, in gross violation of standard operating procedure (SOP) fired pellets at the ambulance leading to grievous injuries in the right hand of the driver.

Despite being shot and blood oozing from his body, he managed to drive the patients safely to the hospital with his one hand. After initial treatment in SMHS Hospital he was later referred to Bone and joint hospital Barzulla for specialized treatment.

The unwarranted action of troopers have sent jitters across the whole medical community in Kashmir.

The Doctors association of Kashmir (DAK) termed it as ‘’barbaric murderous attack” and called for an emergency meeting of all its executive members on Friday.

“The future action plan on this criminal assault will be raised as the ground situation is such that shutting down the hospitals presently is not an option keeping the daily rush of injured patients to the hospitals into consideration,” said Dr G M Mir, President DAK.

DAK has further alleged forces unleashed a reign of terror by halting ambulances on roads and barging in hospitals.

Ealier this month, an ambulance driver was beaten up by policemen in Pulwama district on Friday, August 5 when he was ferrying a pregnant lady to a Srinagar-based hospital.

Dozens of ambulances and staff associated with health department have been either manhandled or beaten by security forces or protestors in last 40 days of the unrest.
Meanwhile, the employees of valley ‘s SMHS hospital came out in protest against the security forces as attacks on medical workers continue to surge in Kashmir.

According to latest development, the CRPF officer of sub-inspector rank officer, PS Yadav who shot at the ambulance driver has been put under suspension. The departmental action has been initiated, but the enquiry isn’t time bound enquiry as the authorities of F78 company to which the officer belonged are not in Srinagar, claimed Kashmir Life quoting PRO CRPF.

On Thursday, in response to a PIL seeking a ban on the use of pellet guns in Jammu and Kashmir high court, the CRPF said that it is difficult for its troopers to follow standard operating procedure (SOP) as the situation in Kashmir and the nature of the protests according to them are ‘grave’ thus claiming legitimacy over use of pellets, arbitrarily.

In its affidavit submitted before the court, it said, if pellet guns were withdrawn, they would have no choice in extreme situations but to open fire with rifles, which may cause more fatalities.

The affidavit also reveals that the CRPF has fired over 3,000 pellet cartridges, each containing 450 metallic which is 1.3 million, metallic balls in last one month.