A senior cardiologist of Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital in Srinagar has lodged a police complaint and alleged that he was beaten and harassed by the policeman deployed on the road while he was on his way to work recently.
In his complaint, Dr Syed Maqbool alleged that on May 23 morning when he was crossing the Hawal Chowk on his way to the hospital he was stopped by a policeman and asked to turn back and use another route. The doctor reportedly displayed his identity card and even showed the cop his duty roster. But the policeman allegedly did not listen.
“On that day, I was the cardiologist on call for SMHS Hospital and all other associated hospitals. I requested the policeman to allow me to pass as I was already getting late due to a traffic jam. Instead the cop started abusing me. I got down from my vehicle and asked him if he wanted to talk to his office, which enraged him and he started hitting me with his baton. In the meantime, the Station House Officer came running and dragged me into the police station,” Dr Maqbool said.
The police have, however, on receipt of the complaint said the matter will be probed and also blamed the doctor for allegedly trying to manhandle the policeman on duty on that road.
According to the doctor, inside the police station, the officer snatched his phone and his identity card. “Despite my repeated requests to call my HOD and the Principal of the Medical College as I was on call to deal with emergencies, the officer harassed me and termed doctors as thieves who indulge only in selling duplicate medicines and taking commission.”
“Noticing his arrogant behavior and knowing that patients would suffer and could die, I apologized to the officer and after that he allowed me to make a call to my colleagues for arranging someone to take care of the patients. It was only after my brother came and submitted a bond that I was released from police custody. My vehicle is still with the police,” the doctor said.
Dr Maqbool further added that the SHO threatened him that he should not tell anybody how he landed in police custody. “The officer was so rude that he threatened to strip me naked. For me, it was pure torture which I received that too while performing Covid19 duties.”’
After his release instead of going home, Dr Maqbool walked on foot six kilometers to the hospital and performed two angioplasties in the morning. “I am a senior interventional cardiologist who has represented the state and country at multiple and national and international forums with multiple awards to my credit and if this is the behaviour I get what will our juniors face at a time when the whole world is dealing with a deadly disease killing thousands daily,” he questioned.
Dr Maqbool also denied that he had tried to manhandle the policeman on duty. “The policemen are lying. There are CCTV cameras at the Hawal Chowk and the footage will reveal everything. If I am found guilty, I am ready to face harsh punishment. But I want action against the arrogant officer.”
Principal, Medical College Srinagar, Dr Samia Rashid said that she had taken up this issue with all the top officials of the administration who had promised action. “The doctor was on call and still he was stopped and jailed. This issue has demoralized our doctors, especially the doctors who are our frontline workers and they were ready to go on general strike against this rude behaviour by the local police,” she said.
SSP Srinagar, Haseeb Mughal said that doctor had reportedly tried to manhandle the policeman. “We have already filed a complaint against the doctor since he reportedly manhandled a policeman when he was coming from the wrong side. When the policeman stopped the doctor he pushed him saying that he was in a hurry. Now, he has sent me a complaint so I have also assigned the SP Hazratbal to enquire into the issue. We have already taken legal cognizance of his misconduct,” the’ SSP Srinagar said adding that the matter would be probed.
“If our policemen are at fault, disciplinary action will be taken but at the same time we will not allow anybody to manhandle and misbehave with police personnel who are on the job 24/7,” he said.
The issue has created quite an uproar on social media in Srinagar and many doctors have been pointing out that this is how frontline workers in Kashmir are being treated by the police.