Harassment

Senior cardiologist says he was assaulted by men in uniform, police says he misbehaved, FIR lodged against the Doctor

Case against the doctor has been filed for assaulting a policeman on duty

Acknowledged doctor’s complaint, directed SP Hazratbal to inquire, says SSP

Srinagar: A senior cardiologist at Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital, Dr. Syed Maqbool, took to social media platform Facebook today, accusing the Jammu and Kashmir police of “manhandling and abusing”. The doctor says he was abused while he was on his way to perform his professional duty, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The police however, have taken legal action against him for his “improper behaviour with the cops on duty.”

Dr. Maqbool has many awards under his name in the field of medicine. But like scores of other locals, he says that he was abused, physically and verbally, by the police, while he was going towards the hospital via Hawal Chowk, Srinagar.

He says that doctors are already overwhelmed with work they ought to do during the pandemic, and the cops are adding to their miseries.

“We are here for patients. Our nights and days are dedicated to them while dealing with this pandemic. This is the most difficult job in the world. To reach this position; from becoming a doctor to a super-specialist, we dedicate our lives and family time to the society. Even during this pandemic, we are there, despite the risks. But while I am an on-call doctor, I was given what I don’t deserve,” he says.

Narrating his ordeal, he says, “I was crossing the Hawal Chowk and one of the constables there stopped me. I told him that I am a doctor on duty. I showed him my identity card, my duty roaster and the plus sign on my car, and requested him to let me go.”

He says, “I told the constable all this and he told me ‘to hell with the hospital’.”

After the cop questioned him, Dr Maqbool says he got out of his car to tell him that he wanted to talk to his senior.

“As soon as I got out of the car, he hit me with a baton. The SHO came rushing and grabbed me, and pushed me into my car and took me to the Zadibal Police station,” he shares.

At the police station, he says, his phone and identity card were snatched.

Worried about his on-call duty, he says he requested the officials to let him make a phone call to his superiors and the hospital.

According to Dr. Maqbool, the SHO replied, “let the patients and hospital go to hell. I don’t care. You doctors are thieves, you prescribe duplicate medicines and are taking commissions. You go to hell and let your hospital go to hell. You people are good for nothing.”

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Maqbool says that he was worried about his patients and for their sake, he apologised to the cops many times.

“He told me that if you say anything more, I will strip off your clothes and beat you to death. At 3.30 pm, he gave me my phone back, telling me that if I told anyone, he will beat me,” he says.

“I had to tell my colleague that my son was very sick and I that is why I could not reach for 2 hours. After that, they left me on some Zamanat when my brother came. I went to the hospital by foot as they did not let me take my car. I took care of the cardiac emergencies throughout the night, till 1 pm on the eve of Eid,” the senior doctor says.

Asked if he manhandled the cop or raised his tone while speaking, he says, “anyone can talk angrily. But what does that mean? Will you go on beating everybody? There is a CCTV in Hawal Chowk. I ask them to release the footage on social media and show me where I have manhandled them. If that is that case, I am ready to be imprisoned for life.”

Regarding the reported FIR lodged against him, he says, “they will obviously do this to save their skin. They know what they have done.”

“I have submitted my complaint to the principal of our hospital. She has forwarded it to the IGP, to DG, to DC and to SD Kashmir. The official formalities are going on,” he says.

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Responding to Maqbool’s allegations, a police official, on condition of anonymity, told Free Press Kashmir that it was the doctor who misbehaved with the police and legal action will be taken against him.

“The behaviour of Dr Sahab was unwarranted and against the law. The legal action will be in place. He was in his expensive car and when he was stopped, he abused the policemen and manhandled them, grabbing their uniform,” says the police officer.

He said, “tum log dou kodi ke police walay ho, I will run my car over you. Tum logon ki kya aukaat hai.”

The cop also says that the doctor was reminded of his profession and told that his way of talking does not suit him.

“He started abusing. Ponde police ho etc. This is an offence against a public servant on duty. We have submitted our factual report and if there is a CCTV camera in Hawal, it will definitely help us in getting the things crystal clear,” the police official says.

“How will we impose the lockdown in these conditions? We too are working hard, just for the good of the public,” he says.

Meanwhile, police have ordered a probe into the alleged ‘assault and illegal detention’ of the senior cardiologist.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Srinagar, Dr. Haseeb Mughal has said that he has ordered a probe into the incident, even as a case against the doctor has been filed for assaulting a policeman on duty.

“The doctor assaulted a police man at the checkpoint. I have also acknowledged doctor’s complaint and directed SP Hazratbal to inquire into the incident,” the SSP has said.

 

Marouf Gazi is a Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) 2019 fellow and a senior staffer at Free Press Kashmir.

 

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