Disservice To DAK

One element of clarity and focus in what is also turning out to be a case of settling political scores is the ‘fact’ of a petition filed in the High Court by the Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) over the supply of spurious drugs to Valley hospitals. Wild rhetoric and un-provable claims swirling around with reckless abandon have the potential to trivialise an issue of immense gravity and scuttle whatever chances their might have been to nail at least one member of the state’s grasping and mercenary  brigade of ministers, and perhaps, institute a deterrent to brazen corruption at high places. For, that is precisely what the supply of spurious drugs is all about – nothing more, nothing less. But unfortunately, the DAK itself has begun to align the case with a discredited narrative and court disaster by sounding like a stuck gramophone record reminiscent of some notables in the separatist camp. If the DAK has been foolish enough to include phrases like “Delhi’s conspiracy of genocide” in its petition to the High Court, and compounds the folly by arguing the case around this theory, it can safely write off even marginal results from its labours. Not because of judicial prejudice or animus, but simply because of the un-provability of the claim. The DAK would do well not to try to outdo Syed Ali Shah Geelani and influence public opinion by borrowing ventriloquist phraseology, but stick to facts – facts that can stand in a court of law.

Spurious drugs are a roaring trade in the Kashmir Valley not because of any premeditated design but because of the active and willing participation of Kashmiris themselves – doctors, drug agencies, chemists, all are involved. Politicians, ministers, and bureaucrats, the progenitors and sustainers of corruption in all its forms and manifestations, can find this opportunity-rich climate only conducive to indulge in their greed and venality. Dubious companies have a readymade market for sub-standard drugs when local doctors are more than willing to push the products in lieu of hefty commissions and other forms of gratification. For example, it surely cannot be the Association’s case that the tendency of a large number of doctors here to grossly over-prescribe is the result of New Delhi’s conspiracy. Or that Kashmiri gynaecologists undertake needless hysterectomies for large fees at the behest of the government of India? The DAK’s belated knight-in-shining- armour role would wear extremely thin and lose all credibility if it fails to concede this glaring reality and keeps on harping the systematic genocide tune. Given the slipshod ways of hospitals, lack of attention to detail, and abysmal work culture so typical of all sections of Kashmiri society – a situation made worse by the past 23 years of pursuit of lofty goals – how would the DAK find evidence and records to link even a single death to spurious drugs?  Instead of frittering away its mental and emotional energy in playing to the galleries and currying favour with pre-programmed civil society members, the DAK must sharpen the forensic case against the minister and officials it has named in its petition to the High Court. It would do Kashmir no harm if an example is made of a corrupt minister or two, with a couple of babus thrown in.

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