Communication gag compounds miseries of Injured, Patients

The trauma of injured and their families is multiplying manifold with communication embargo enforced in Kashmir for the past 11 days making treatment seeking, logistic arrangement difficult and even creating impediments in hospital functioning.
On Wednesday, a young man from a village ’25 km off Kupwara’ with pellet injury in eye pleaded before another getting discharged from the hospital: “Please stop your vehicle at my village and whosoever you meet on road, give them this letter.”
“The villagers will in turn hand this letter to my family,” the young man with an eye in bandage said to the teenager going home after treatment while handing over a small note written in Urdu on a piece of paper torn from the hospital file.
The Kupwara youth had been injured with pellets and was getting treatment at SMHS Hospital. He told Kashmir Post that he has no sibling at home and his father was ‘very sick’. “My mother is taking care of my father and cannot be here. But she must be dying with worries about me,” the young man said.
“This letter, if it reaches them, will tell them I am alright and getting better,” he hoped.
Around the same time, a youth waited at the SMHS Hospital gate with the dead body of his father. “We are in hospital for many days. My father was sick,” the young man cried. “Our family does not know he has expired. The phones are not working,” the man said.
In absence of transport services, he could not arrange a vehicle to carry the body of his father to their home for burial.
While reports of injuries and protests in south Kashmir villages continue to pour in unabated, hundreds of people from south Kashmir, injured and attending to the injured have no communication link with their families. With the landline networks almost nonexistent in rural areas and BSNL having a sparse customer base across the rural Kashmir, communication is but totally snapped across the length and breadth of the Valley.
“We do not know whether they are alive there,” a woman from Shopian attending to her injured son in Ward 08 of the hospital said. “No phone in our village is working,” she said.
Another woman from Bijbehara, also accompanying a relative added, “Even they do not know whether we are alive and what has happened to the injured here.”
People at hospitals said they suffered ‘shivering’ when news of an incident from their areas is heard. “Everyone here is under tremendous stress. Communication gag is aggravating it,” a social worker said at SMHS.
Voluntary organizations and doctors said that patients were undergoing anxiety and stress related mental health issues due to communication breakdown. “Many have left their families in hurry, while rushing the injured to the hospital. They do not even know what has come of their families,” a doctor working with Department of Psychiatry said.
Government has snapped all communication lines except BSNL in Kashmir following killing of Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani. While mobile internet services were snapped on July 9 all over Kashmir, phone networks in south Kashmir were cut on July 9. This was followed by government progressively extending the communication embargo on mobile networks in north Kashmir and later in Srinagar also.
“Communication is essential, especially for these injured who have undergone trauma of such degree,” doctors said at SMHS Hospital.
They added that communication gag was adding to the incidence of PTSD in the injured. “It is aggravating all stress related disorders, including PTSD,” doctors said.

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