19 August 2016
More than 40 days of clashes between protesters and security forces have overwhelmed the main hospital in Indian-administered Kashmir, military and medical officials said on Friday.
According to the authorities, some patients with severe injuries said they had been beaten in their homes by troops and taken to the hospital for treatment.
The report said that house-to-house searches would continue for suspected ringleaders of street protests sparked by the killing on July 8 of a popular field commander of a Pakistan-based separatist group.
According to the report, at least 65 people have been killed and 6,000 injured in the clashes.
It said that many of the victims were wounded by shotgun rounds fired by security forces enforcing a curfew across the Muslim-majority region.
It said that pictures taken at the Srinagar’s main SMHS Hospital showed men with weal on their backs and buttocks that they said had been caused by beatings.
“Another showed a crying boy, his head swathed in bandages, as he was comforted by his family, who said he had been wounded by shotgun pellets.
“Doctors at the hospital were exhausted, with one saying they had performed more eye operations in the past month than they had over the last three years.
“We have here less number of beds and staff and we are in physical and mental stress,” Nisarul Hassan, Senior Consultant at SMHS hospital, said.
He said that he was forced to use an ambulance to get back home.
A senior army officer said that the forces were trying not to react to acts of provocation because the Indian army has admitted to, and apologised for, the death of a college lecturer in one beating.
“Militants are hiding behind the stone-pelters and are trying to provoke security forces into firing on them, but we are exercising restraint to avoid civilian casualties.
“They want us to fire on them and we will not do it.
“We are exercising restraint to avoid collateral damage,’’ Lt.-Gen. SK Dua said.