In a bizarre incident, a doctor at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research in Chandigarh (PGIMER) turned away a Kashmiri woman and her son saying, "You throw stones at our soldiers in Kashmir and come here for treatment."
The ongoing conflict in Kashmir has impacted the health of several Kashmiri residents. Many people who cannot be treated in their hometowns travel to other parts of the country for treatment.
But what has happened in Chandigarh, has raised many questions. Should a doctor deny treatment to a patient no matter what his background is? Should law act against the doctor for such an act? Will such a prejudiced behaviour shown by the doctor aggravate alienation of Kashmiris?
On May 4, 2017, the medical examination of Nasreena Malik (55) was held at the PGIMER in Chandigarh. But on learning that the woman belonged to Kashmir, the doctor turned her away along with her son, saying, "Wahan Kashmir mein humare jawano ko patthar marte ho, aur phir yahan ilaj ke liye aate ho (you throw stones on our soldiers in Kashmir and come here for treatment).
Nasreena's son Javaid Malik, upset with doctor's remarks, said, "As we entered the cabin, he (doctor) talked to us in a civilised way and started the check up. Then, he asked for the case history of the patient. The moment I showed him previous documents from Srinagar's SKIMS Hospital and he got to know that we are Kashmiris, his attitude changed. He got angry and threw away the documents."
The doctor, according to Javaid's statement to the media, was sitting inside a cabin that had one Dr Manoj Tiwari's name on the nameplate outside his cabin.
The doctor has technically flouted the Hippocratic Oath that has historically been taken by physicians and dates back to Greek medical texts in 5th-3rd century BC. The fifth-century Greek physician, Hippocrates, is the author of the rules. According to the oath, new physician swears to uphold specific ethical standards. While taking the oath, the physicians swear by healing Gods or health deities.
Professor Jagat Ram, the PGIMER Director, said, "We've been treating thousands of patients from J&K and all the other states. Such incident has never happened here. This has been brought to my notice, and I shall get the matter investigated."
An unnamed administrative official told the media persons that an internal probe had been initiated.
The doctor's statement come at a time when protests broke out in Kashmir in April after a shocking video, showing a Kashmiri man tied to the front of an army jeep as a human shield against stone pelters, surfaced in the state.
The army has initiated a probe into the human shield incident. Amidst this, hundreds of school children and protesting men and women came on the streets to pelt stones at security forces for the human rights violations in Kashmir Valley.