Separatist-sponsored strike disrupts normal life

Hospitals asked to stock up on essential medicines
Last Updated 24 February 2019, 06:39 IST

Normal life was paralysed in Kashmir on Sunday due to a strike called by separatists against the mass detention of JKLF chief Yasin Malik and over 150 Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) cadres.

All shops and other commercial establishments remained closed in Srinagar and elsewhere in the valley while public and private transport were off the roads. Authorities had made heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces in Srinagar and other volatile areas of Kashmir to thwart any protests.

The weekly flea-market in Srinagar also remained closed while authorities-imposed restrictions in parts of Srinagar city to thwart any protests. Heavy contingents of police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were deployed across the city to maintain law and order.

The police crackdown on separatists and airlifting of more than 100 companies of central armed forces personnel (CAPF) from Delhi to Srinagar on Saturday set off rumour mongering in Kashmir and a resultant panic buying of essentials.

As speculations are rife that Supreme Court may scrap Article 35A, when it comes for hearing, next week, authorities asked hospitals in Kashmir to stock up on essential medicines and supplies immediately, in addition of deputing adequate staff for emergencies ‘in view of the prevailing situation.’

Director Health Services, Dr Kunzes Dolma impressed upon all the chief medical officers to collect supplies of drugs, medicines, surgical disposables and other necessary items for hospitals in their respective districts “just tomorrow,” that is Sunday.

In tertiary care hospitals associated with Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar, administrators have been “verbally directed” to prepare for “any untoward situation”. At Srinagar’s lone super-speciality hospital – SK Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) “preparations were being finalized for any emergency situation”. Director SKIMS, Dr Omar Javed Shah said that the Institute had a “contingency team” to respond to disasters of any kind. “We are on alert mode,” he said.

There is apprehension that large-scale violence may break in Kashmir if article 35A is revoked next week. A senior police officer said they have been asked to remain on high alert in the wake of recent militant attacks in the Valley.

“Yes, there is a possibility that there may be large-scale violence in the Valley if any fiddling is done with the Article 35A. But the troops re-deployment is being done because of other reasons also,” he told DH.

(Published 24 February 2019, 05:47 IST)

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