Mantri visits SMHS for photo op disguising as health official, hounded out

Srinagar: Much to his ‘embarrassment’  State's Health Minister, visiting a premier city hospital disguised as a health department official, was hounded out the moment patients and attendants came to know about his real identity.

Minister for Health in the Mehbooba Mufti cabinet, Bali Bhagat visited the Govt run SMHS Hospital here on Tuesday apparantly to inquire about the condition of hundreds of people admitted there with bullet and pellet injuries.

News agency CNS quoting eyewitnesses said, that some of the officials accompanying the Minister introduced him as Director Health Services Kashmir.  “The Minister talked in Kashmiri to some of the patients while some attendants who took him as Director Health Services Kashmir Dr Salim-ur-Rehman complained that government move to evict volunteers from the hospital was anti-people,” said eyewitnesses.

However a battery of official photographers accompanying the minister raised suspicion among the attendants.

They added that as patients and attendants came to know about his real identity they lost their cool and tried to corner him. However the security guards encircled him and whisked him out of the hospital. The wards of the hospital soon reverberated with the pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.

Bhagat's visit was the first by any minister to the hospital since the ongoing uprising began almost three months ago. Government forces have killed nearly 100 people and injured 15,000 in this period sparking widespread rage and anger.

Meanwhile a government handout in the evening said that Minister for Health and Medical Education, Bali Bhagat, on Tuesday paid a surprise visit to the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital and reviewed the facilities being provided to the patients.

The Minister inspected various wards like Emergency, OPD, Surgical units, and Ophthalmology section and interacted with the patients and doctors to enquire about quality of services available in the Hospital.

During his visit, the Minister also interacted with the eye injury patients to enquire about their present condition and medical facilities being provided to them. Mr. Bhagat assured them that the Government is committed to provide quality medical facilities to them and further arrangements, if required, will be made for their advanced treatment.

The Health Minister appreciated doctors for their commendable service they rendered during the unrest and directed the concerned that all facilities at the hospital should be utilized at their optimum for the benefit of patients.  Principal GMC, Superintendent SMHS Hospital and other doctors accompanied the Minister during his visit.  

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