Ban on Night Travel: Hospitals in North Stop Referrals to Srinagar

Srinagar:  In the wake of restrictions imposed on the movement of vehicles during night time in North Kashmir, hospital authorities at Sub District Hospital Handwara have directed its medical and para-medical staff not to refer patients to Srinagar hospital during night hours.  
The restrictions on night travel by the government and the latest directions from the hospital authorities have come in for severe criticism from people who call the move as “anti-people” and are stating that ailing patients can lose their lives if not referred to the Srinagar hospitals in the nick of the time.
 Medical Superintendent Sub-District Hospital Handwara Dr Abdul Rouf Bhat confirmed to news agency CNS that he has directed employees not to refer patients during night time to Srinagar. “It is a precautionary measure as we have heard that authorities have imposed ban on the night travel in North Kashmir. Our ambulances are being attacked and we don’t want to put ailing patients in trouble,” he said adding that: “we have devised a mechanism so that we can treat medicinal, gynecological or surgical patients effectively in the hospital.”
 Meanwhile, medical staff at District Hospital Kupwara alleged that all the ambulances carrying patient’s mostly pregnant women were halted at Seelu Sopore by Army and were not allowed to proceed towards LD Hospital Srinagar. “I was having a lady patient in my ambulance (JK1J-1340) when Army men near Seelu Sopore stopped me and prohibited us to proceed towards Srinagar on the pretext night movement is not allowed on the roads. I was ruthlessly beaten up while made to crawl on the road,” the driver of the ambulance Parvez Ahmed posted at District Hospital Kupwara said.
 A top official from Directorate of Health Services Kashmir repeatedly pleaded anonymity said that it is disgusting that number of ambulances carrying women patients were halted at Seelu Sopore. “This development shocked us. We appeal to government to take note of it. Even the movement of doctors and specialists were restricted,” he said. “Please convey my message to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to look into the matter herself,” he told the news agency.
SP Sopore Harmeet Singh Mehta said that it would have been better for the ambulance drivers to approach police station and lodge a complaint. “Though night curfew remains in vogue in the town yet everyone is free to visit police stations for registrations of any complaint,” he said.
 Despite repeated attempts, Srinagar based Defence spokesperson did not pick up the phone.(CNS)

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