A Srinagar-based senior doctor on Monday alleged that he was “illegally detained’ and beaten by the police while he was on his way to attend to his patients.
In a Facebook post Dr Syed Maqbool, a senior cardiologist said, he was stopped by the police when he was on his way to Shri Maharaja Hari Singh hospital on the morning of May 23. He was asked by the security personnel to turn back and take another way even after he showed the police his identity card. He told the police personnel that the other route will take more time due to traffic jam, in return he was abused.
Maqbool came out of his car and said he wanted to talk to the senior officials, but he was instead hit in the stomach with baton and the Station House Officer (SHO) took him to the police station. Maqbool’s phone and identity card were confiscated in spite of his repeated requests to inform his HOD since he was the doctor on call and many patients were waiting for treatment. Maqbool said that he was told, “Let the patients and hospital go to hell, I don’t care, you doctors are thieves indulged only in selling duplicate medicines and taking commissions.”
To get himself released Maqbool said that he apologised many times and asked to make one phone call to his HOD since many patients may die. At 4pm he was allowed to make the phone call on the condition of not telling anyone that he was being detained at the police station. The police threatened him of torture and imprisonment if he told anyone of his detention.
The cardiologist was released at 6pm when his brother came to the police station after his family grew suspicious of his whereabouts. The police did not release his vehicle and he had to walk till the hospital to attend to his patients.
“This is a life time torture I have ever received for performing my duties and that too during covid 19,” said Maqbool.
The senior interventional cardiologist, said he worked for whole night that day till 1pm the next day despite Eid celebrations. “When whole world is saluting doctors, this is what we are recieving”, said Maqbool.
The incident was condemned by the medical fraternity. Principal of Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar Dr Samia Rashid condemned the incident, tweeting , “The behavior of the police has been deplorable to say the least – we as frontline workers have been working day in and day out risking our lives and families only to be harrassed. ”
The behavior of the police has been deplorable to say the least – we as frontline workers have been working day in and day out risking our lives and families only to be harrassed. We as the administration have raised the issue with concerned authorities and hope for swift action.
— Samia Rashid (@drsamiarashid) May 25, 2020
The Resident Doctor’s Association of GMC Srinagar also condemned the incidents of harassment against medical professionals.
RDA condemns the reports of recent incidents wherein the doctors were allegedly harassed on the way to hospital.
— Mohsin Bin Mushtaq (@zikrejaana) May 25, 2020
The Wire reports, following the outcry, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, called Dr Maqbool and “apologised” for the incident. “He said a wrong has happened. He assured me justice will be surely done.”
In a statement issued on Monday, the IGP said he has ordered an impartial inquiry into the incident. The Wire in its report quoted IGP saying, “Whatever incident has taken place, we shall look into it, conduct impartial inquiry and take due action.”