Doctor arrested after exposing Kashmir health crisis

Doctor Omar Salim was arrested infront of the media as he warned that a humanitarian crisis was looming in the occupied region as a curfew and communications blackout prevent medicines from reaching the valley.

Kashmir

News Desk |

A doctor was arrested in Indian Occupied Kashmir after he spoke up about the impending healthcare disaster under lock down and curfew. Omar Salim, a urologist at the Government Medical College in the state capital of Srinagar, said life-saving medicines were running out and new orders could not be placed.

He had appeared at Press Enclave in Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, to speak to the media, holding a placard that stated he was making a “request and not a protest”. He was carried away by the police while speaking to a BBC reporter. His whereabouts are still unknown.

Omar stated the information blockade and travel restrictions placed upon Kashmir were endangering the lives of patients, particularly those who are in need of dialysis or chemotherapy.

“If patients don’t receive dialysis, they will die. If cancer patients don’t receive chemotherapy, they will die. Those patients who can’t be operated on can die,” he said.

He said that the poor Kashmiris were being served appropriately by state-run hospitals until the curfew and communications blackout was imposed.

“The connection between the internet and healthcare system is that the healthcare scheme is entirely an internet-based scheme. [Under the scheme,] each and every patient is issued a card. The patient brings the card to hospital whenever he visits a doctor,” he said.

“But, without the landline and internet connectivity, we are unable to provide free medicines,” he added. He appealed to the Indian government to end the communication blackout and restore landline and internet services.

The Jammu and Kashmir Department of Information and Public Relations dismissed reports of medicine shortages claiming all government approved drugs are still available throughout the valley.

However, media reports and the doctor’s arrest make it clear that Kashmir is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.

Kashmir has been under lockdown since August 5, since the Bharatiya Janata Party led by Narendra Modi scrapped Article 370 and 35-A that gave Indian Occupied Kashmir a special status.

Read more: Kashmir Media Cell to be established in Information Ministry: Dr. Firdous

Analysts believe the move is aimed at making a demographic change in the only Muslim majority area in India.

The Kashmir valley has been under curfew, with no contact with the outside world. There has also been an increase in the number of troops in what is already the most militarized area in the world.

While the Modi government insists everything is okay, Kashmiris are continuously taking to the streets to defy the occupation.

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