Health, Asia - Pacific

Doctors in Kashmir protest police ‘manhandling’

Health care workers demand action against police who threaten, abuse doctors

Nusrat Sidiq  | 26.05.2020 - Update : 27.05.2020
Doctors in Kashmir protest police ‘manhandling’

SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir 

More than 100 doctors in Indian-administered Kashmir held a token protest Tuesday against alleged harassment of health care professionals by regional police.

Syed Maqbool, an interventional cardiologist at a specialty hospital in Srinagar held a poster that said: “They may stop us, beat us, strip us, arrest us but we will always be there for you [patients].” He was allegedly beaten and harassed by regional police and kept at police station for almost eight hours May 23.

“I was mentally tortured, abused and harassed and threatened with dire consequences,” Maqbool told Anadolu Agency.

An investigation into the incident was been ordered by the head of regional police, but Maqbool demanded it should be done expeditiously and exemplary punishment should be handed out to offending officers who threaten and harass health care workers.

"It [the harassment by police] happens here on routine these days. They ask people to stop cars and then take to police stations," said Maqbool.

The doctor said he was also stopped at the checkpoint but he requested the police to allow him to leave after showing his duty card. "Then the police in charge took me to the police station," he added.

Inspector General of Police Kashmir Zone, Vijay Kumar, has asked for a report on the incident.

He reiterated that doctors, paramedics and police are combating COVID-19 infections. “Whatever incident has taken place, we shall look into them, conduct impartial enquiry and ensure due action,” he said.

The Doctors Association of Kashmir asked doctors in the region to wear black wristbands Wednesday in protest against the mishandling of health care professionals.

The group’s head Suhail Naik said police action is deplorable and officers are showing arrogance on the roads.

“At a time when doctors in other regions of the world are saluted, respected and showered with praise, we Kashmiri doctors are facing unwanted police brutality which should be condemned at all levels and action must be taken,” he said.

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