Senior Cardiologist Says He Was Detained, Prevented From Attending Duty

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‘Police Took Me Hostage, Threatened To Strip Me’

Srinagar: A senior doctor at the SMHS hospital on Monday alleged that he was taken hostage by the police and threatened to be stripped at the police station after being whisked away by a senior officer when he was on way to the hospital to attend duties.

“I was taken hostage by a senior police officer. He threatened to strip me naked, if I disclosed to anybody, even my family that I have been lodged at police station Zadibal,” Dr Syed Maqbool, a senior intervention cardiologist, told Kashmir Observer on Monday.

“It was a traumatizing experience. Never in my life have I faced such humiliation and mental trauma at the hands of police. These are most horrific times. It has left me in a state of shock,” he added.

Narrating the sequence of events, Maqbool said that he was on his way to SMHS hospital when a policeman intercepted his car near Hawal chowk. He said despite proving his identity, the policeman didn’t let him join his duties.

“I got down from the car and pleaded before him that since the Valley is in grip of pandemic, not many doctors are available for patient care. I told him that I have patients to look after, but instead of heeding to my request, the cop beat me with a baton,” Dr Maqbool said.

As if it was not enough, he said SHO Zadibal Javed Ahmad came in charging to the spot, bundled him in his police van and whisked him away to police station Zadibal.  On reaching police station, he said his phone was snatched and returned around 3:00 pm on the condition that he won’t disclose his location to his family and the hospital authorities.

“The officer demonstrated his inhumane face. He said let the patients and the hospital go to hell when I was pleading him to return my phone,” Dr Maqbool said

“The officer warned me that if I either disclose my location or argue with him, he’ll strip me naked and beat me to the death,” he added.

He said that he was release after spending a day at the police station and after signing a surety bond.

“From morning till 6pm, I was taken hostage by the police. My vehicle is still there. It shivers my body when I recall the day spent at the police station,” he added.

Principal GMC Saima Rashid has condemned the assault on the senior doctor and termed such acts unacceptable.

“I have informed the Divisional Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner. I have informed them what our doctor has gone through. They have assured me to take up the issue with the police so that such incidents don’t reoccur,” she said.

Before Dr Maqbool, the GMC Principal said another doctor of the Super Specialty hospital was beaten up by cops at the Budshah Chowk.

“I saw his finger was literally broken. The doctors work so hard and then we have to listen to this non-sense. This is unacceptable,” she added.

Meanwhile, police have ordered a probe into the alleged thrashing and illegal confinement of the senior cardiologist.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Srinagar, Dr Haseeb Mughal told Kashmir Observer that he has ordered a probe into the incident even as a case against the doctor has been filed for assaulting a policeman on duty.

“The doctor assaulted a police man at a checkpoint. I have also acknowledged doctor’s complaint and directed SP Hazratbal to inquire the incident,”

Doctors Body Decries Police ‘Harassment’ 

Meanwhile Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Monday condemned heckling and harassment of healthcare workers by police amid Covid-19 lockdown and termed such acts ‘unacceptable’.

In a statement issued to Kashmir Observer, the doctors’ body said that two senior doctors Dr Shabir and Dr Syed Maqbool, both working at the SMHS hospital, were beaten “ruthlessly and even harassed” by police in Srinagar.

“Both the doctors were on way to hospitals in their personal vehicles to perform their duties when these unfortunate incidents happened,” DAK President Dr Suhail Naik said.

He said the alleged assault on has caused immense sufferings to patients of the department where these doctors were supposed to perform their duties.

“Instead of their duties they were trying themselves to get released from the police stations as if they were criminals,” he said.

In Dr Shabir’s case, the DAK statement said that he suffered a fracture in his left index finger after being caught by the cops and abused.

The doctors’ body said that since the Covid-19 pandemic, duty roasters are made in such a way where more than half of the doctors are off from duties which has already created a tight situation in hospitals and there is scope of reaching late or absenteeism.

“Since these unfortunate incidents have now become a routine which puts the whole police department in bad light due to unruly behaviours of few officials,” the DAK statement said.

It also said that many healthcare workers are facing trouble in reaching hospitals as they are stopped across places unnecessarily, which is an exhausting task.

DAK has also written a letter to Inspector General of Police Kashmir Zone to put a comprehensive mechanism in place when dealing with doctors and other healthcare providers on duty by police officials

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Izhar Nazir Ali

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