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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

250 ambulances among 15,000 vehicles damaged in turmoil-2016

68 vehicles set on fire in 54 incidents; 24 in Srinagar alone

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


SRINAGAR, Oct 25: While as the civilian shutdown vigilantes and security forces have torched as many as 68 vehicles in 54 incidents in the last 110 days of the street turbulence, around 250 ambulances of the State Health Department and other major hospitals have been damaged during the same period across Kashmir valley.

Director Health Services Kashmir Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman told STATE TIMES that as many as 190 ambulances of his department have been extensively damaged since July 8. He did not have figures of the official vehicles of District Hospitals, Public Health Centres besides the private vehicles of Chief Medical Officers, Medical Superintendents, doctors and other medical staff damaged in the mayhem. Conservative estimates put the number of such damaged vehicles as around 1,000.

Incharge Transport Department at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura, Deen Mohammad, said that 16 vehicles of the State’s only tertiary care hospital were damaged. These include 8 ambulances and equal number of buses. Such ambulances belonging to other hospitals including SKIMS Medical College and Hospital Bemina, SMHS Hospital and its associated hospitals — Bone & Joint Hospital, Lal Ded Hospital, Chest Disease Hospital etc. — are believed to be not less than 50.

Officials claim that around 10% of the ambulances and other vehicles of the Health Department and other government hospitals were damaged by Police and security forces and the rest 90% by the ‘protesters’ clashing with security forces or enforcing the separatists’ shutdown.

Most of the doctors and other medical and paramedical staff, who were beaten up or whose vehicles were torched or damaged in stone pelting, have not filed FIRs for fear of reprisals in an atmosphere of anarchy. They are believed to be in thousands.

According to the official tabulation accessed by STATE TIMES, maximum incidents of vehicle burning have taken place in the capital Srinagar district. SSP Srinagar Amit Kumar claimed that Police swung into action in each case. He said that when two Tata Sumo commercial vehicles were torched at Parimpora on October 17, entire cluster of the residents went into hiding though members of only two families were wanted.

The prime accused, Merajuddin Ganai alias Raju, was finally arrested by the Police on Tuesday. On Monday, DIG Central Kashmir, Ghulam Hassan Bhat, and SSP Amit Kumar said at a news conference that 15 miscreants involved in torching 13 vehicles had been arrested even as 7 of the accused were absconding. Of them, Ganai was arrested the very next day.

However, the official statistics available with this newspaper put the number of the incidents of vehicle burning in Srinagar district as 24.

Five each incidents of vehicle burning have been reported in Budgam, Anantnag and Baramulla districts, four each in Shopian and Pulwama, three in Kupwara, two in Kulgam and one each in Ganderbal and Bandipore.

The vehicles burned down, mostly by the shutdown vigilantes, include 30 motorcycles and scooters, 18 cars, 9 auto-rickshaws and Tata Sumo passenger carriages, 7 trucks, tippers, JCB earth excavators and big load-carriers besides 2 ambulances and 2 mobile bunkers of security forces. In all 7 of the destroyed vehicles belonged to Police Department, Police personnel and security forces. One escort vehicle attached to Health Minister Bali Bhagat was torched in Rajbagh area on August 10.

Month-wise, 17 incidents of the vehicle burning happened in July. In the first incident, people protesting Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s death in an encounter set on fire a mobile bumker of CRPF at Hassanpora in Anantnag district on July 8.While as 11 incidents occurred in August and 9 in September, as many as 17 incidents took place in 25 days of October.

Even as most of these vehicle were torched by the shutdown vigilantes in their attempts to spread fear and ensure that there was no violation of the separatists’ call, security forces and Police set on fire one motorcycle at Kakkar Hamam Baramulla on October 11 and as many as 15 motorcycles at Adijan Adda in Kulgam district on August 3.

Since most of the victims have not filed complaints with the Police, Srinagar daily Greater Kashmir has reported last week that 6000 to 7000 vehicles had been damaged in Srinagar alone. Officials insisted that no authentic statistics were readily available but many of them claimed that the number of vehicles extensively damaged in stone pelting and other incidents could be around 15,000.


[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]

Vehicles torched during unrest 2016

 District Budgam

S.        Date               Vehicle torched                Place                         By

01.      Aug 05             Scooty JK04C-8539           Khansahab                Miscreants   
Owner: Head Constable Gh Ahmad Lone s/o Gh Mohi uddin r/o Badran Magam

02.      Sep 29             JCB     -------                        Hardu Batpora         Miscreants
Bilal Ahmad Sofi s/o Ab Gaffar & Gh Rasool Sofi s/o Ab Ahad r/o Hardu Batpora

03.      Oct 06            Auto JKOIB-5159                Ompora                     Miscreants
Owner: Ghulam Ahmed Mir r/o Ompora, Budgam

04.    Oct 10             Swift  JK01AB-0103            Gooripora                  Miscreants

05.      Oct 10             Estilo JKo1N-6690             Gooripora                  Miscreants


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