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Threatening Doctors on statements,utterly madness of Director Health Kashmir

Medical fraternity needs attention not vengeful intimidation

Kamran Ashraf Bhat
OP-ED/ Joint Editor

I, woke up from sleep and as usual,  Cell phone on my right side  was receiving notifications from Twitter after I turned  my data on. I checked one of the notices with emotional appealing headline ‘inside New York’s Hospital’. The Doctor, who’s video was recorded came heavily on Trump administration for not providing essential equipment for medical workers, who are at the verge of becoming patients.

For me it was a bit moving, but, I also praised later administration that the same hospital was given attention and Doctor was briefed about incoming stocks.

His morale was boosted with praises and he was told,’ Everything will be done to keep you safe and secure ‘. Under its comment section, a local retired army veteran ,who was from Republic party and Pro Donald Trump die-hard supporter wrote,” In this time Doctor needs to be protected so that he can protect humanity .”

You may be thinking, what am I writing,  am I mad, well no, this is how medical workers shall be treated at a time when they are the only last line of defence. If this wall broke, if this last line of defence fell prey to monstrous Coronavirus pandemic, no one in hot tubs or protected walls will be safe, not even Director Health, Dr Sameer Mattoo.

Dr Sameer Mattoo, do you know, you came from the same fraternity whom you are threatening for ‘Strick Action ‘ on media leaks. Do you know why leaks take place, let me tell you, media leaks happen when the whistleblower is forced towards wall .That is what happened here, medical workers are facing below normal shortage of pieces of equipment to fight against Coronavirus and protect themselves from any possible infection.

The wire, nation wide acclaimed  online news portal , quoted a local Kashmiri doctor in its story, published on 4th of April , which shows desperation and anxiety of Doctors in the valley.

“We are at the forefront of this battle against the coronavirus. If you tie our hands and tongues, the ship is bound to sink,” says a doctor with a state-run hospital in Srinagar, requesting anonymity, as he fears repercussions in light of the new government circular. “Constructive criticism is the basis of a good democracy. Since the government is weak, it is using this to shut doctors up, which is very unfortunate. Now, do we fight the unseen enemy, or do we take care of our jobs?”

This inhumane approach came from the same person who was part of the folk and has been with them in all weather. Since he was given chair and command stick, he is now pulling strings to show his arrogance.

It is rightly said that the problem is not in person, it’s in the chair which is bound to arrogance and projections based on ‘lone Ranger’ concept.

The falt doesn’t lie only in Director health, there is chain of command ,it starts from Financial Commisioner  Atal Dulloo, IAS.  But the heat needs to be faced by you because you were in the same boots before taking to authoritarian approach. These baggy  suit boys won’t understand and can’t even imagine about what is happening around, but you had been wearing same white apron.

The letter which was sent as communique to medical workers noted order as “It has been observed that some of the government servants are publicly criticising the efforts of the administration to combat the pandemic of COVID-19, which is against the service conduct rule. Henceforth strict action will be initiated against such elements who resort to such uncalled for reporting to media. Any person disobeying any regulation or order made under the Epidemics Diseases Act, 1897 shall be deemed to have committed an offence punishable under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code [IPC] (45 of 1860).”

The order surfaced  in the wake of statements issued by some medical workers, working on the frontline about
inadequate medical infrastructure in Kashmir – shortage of man-power, personal protective equipment, ventilators, and other issues crippling the region’s response to COVID-19.

This order which carries sheer disgrace for the office of the directorate is outcome of intolerance followed by arrogance that no one can challenge the authority. The Necks behind the formal tie knots are living in the projection of totalitarianism. The Six Decade-old law which came into action in 1968, can’t be used to scapegoat those who don’t take part in your parties and give shadow to your managed wrecked health system.

There is a cry for help from Doctors, they need to be heard not disturbed with vengeful intimidation. The whole world is celebrating Medical workers, yet our English Babus are trying to establish a government writ with haughtiness pursuit. Come clean with favourable consideration and intention otherwise, the history will celebrate you as a stooge.

( Kamran Ashraf Bhat is Joint Editor of daily Inside Kashmir and it’s OP-ED section . He also Special Secretary of  President of  Jammu and Kashmir journalists Union)

Note : The Op-Ed pages feature opinion pieces written by outside contributors and IK’s own team of columnists and Editorial board members .