Of Locked Hospitals & Military Crackdowns: In biting cold, lady gives birth in open

SRINAGAR: In a shocking incident a 26-year-old woman in remote Kupwara village gave birth to a baby outside a local hospital in a biting cold on Thursday as the hospital was locked and its staff missing.

“My pregnant wife complained of severe pain early morning. I along with my brother and some neighbors took her on shoulders towards Public Health Centre (PHC) Kukroosa as the roads in the area are still covered with snow and traffic is not plying”, Shehzad Ahmed Mir, a resident of Zafar Khani Sarmarg in Handwara Tehsil said.

“However, at Harkerpora, army stopped us for about an hour as there was ‘crackdown’ in the area. We pleaded with them to let us go but they refused for about one hour making us, including the woman in labor, suffer in a harsh cold,” Mir alleged.

But another shock was in store for the family. As they reached the PHC no one was present there and the centre was locked, Mir added.

Finding the health center locked, the angry attendants vandalized the PHC and smashed the locks of some wards.

In the meantime, some locals had brought blankets for the patient and she gave birth to a baby in the hospital lawns.

As the news spread, the residents of the area along with the attendants staged protest demonstration against the health department.

Following the protests  few doctors arrived at the hospital,” Majnoon Ahmad, a Panch of Sarmarg Village, Ward No. 04 said.

“However, the doctors complained that they too were stopped by army from reaching the hospital as the area was under cordon,” he added.

When contacted, Chief Medical Officer, Kupwara, Dr Aleem said that the medical staff reached late to the PHC as they were stopped by the army in the crackdown.

“Our paramedical team, doctors and other staff were not allowed by the army and police due to crackdown. They were allowed only after I talked to the SHO concerned and army officials,” he said.

Yes the Joginbagh, Kalipora, Harkerpora localities of village Kukroosa were under cordon as we had some inputs about the presence of militants in the area,” said Commanding Officer of 6 RR, Parveen Pahal.

“But we didn’t stop the patient, instead we helped them to reach the hospital,” he claimed adding “the medical staff was blaming the army to save their skin.”

When contacted, District Commissioner Kupwara, Itrat Hussain said that he will look into the matter and will take action against the persons found responsible. (GNS)

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