Hundreds of pellets in his arm and shoulder, Sofi still drove patients to SMHS hospital
An ambulance driver, who was bringing patients from Ganderbal to a Srinagar hospital late on Thursday evening, had a miraculous escape when Central Reserve Police Force men fired pellets at him in Safakadal area here, causing serious injuries to him.
Ghulam Muhammad Sofi, despite being severely injured in the right arm and shoulder and bleeding profusely, drove the ambulance with one hand for nearly one kilometer to the SMHS Hospital where he was admitted for treatment and later shifted to Bone & Joint Hospital in the night for a surgery.
A senior doctor at the B&J hospital, who treated 32-year old Sofi, said more than 200 pellets had pierced his right arm and shoulder.
“The severity of the injury shows that the pellets have been fired from a very close range and he (Sofi) had lost lot of blood,” said the doctor, adding: “Sofi has been lucky that the pellets have not caused damage to his bones.”
“The pellets had ruptured his tissues. We have operated upon him but he will need at least two more surgeries given the severity of the injury.”
Sofi, who is a driver with Primary Health Center at Wussan in Ganderbal, said he had to drop a sick patient at Children’s hospital at Sonwar here and another patient at B&J Hospital.
Recalling the incident, Sofi, who is in severe pain, said the joint party of CRPF and police which was patrolling near CRPF camp in Safa Kadal didn’t stop them and the ambulance proceeded towards Lal Chowk.
But the moment, he said, the ambulance reached near Safa Kadal Bridge, a CRPF man, “without signaling anything fired directly at me with his gun”.
Manzoor Ahmad who was accompanying 14-year-old cousin Aqib Hussain to B&J hospital for his treatment, in the ambulance, said: “We thought this is our end. I looked at the driver and he was bleeding profusely from right side of his body. But he (driver) without losing concentration, drove the ambulance to the SMHS hospital.”
Before the CRPF personnel fired at the ambulance driver Sofi, he had during the day already shuttled thrice between Wusan and Srinagar to ferry the patients.
“Oh my brother, I am dying with pain, please do something,” Sofi was repeatedly telling his elder brother Nazir Ahmad at the hospital.
A number of ambulance drivers from Srinagar and Ganderbal who visited Sofi at the hospital, were aghast over use of force against ambulance drivers during the past 42 days of uprising in Kashmir.
As per the official report prepared by Directorate of Health (Kashmir), at least 25 drivers working with the Department have been allegedly thrashed by forces during the past 42 days. The Directorate has suffered damage to 150 ambulances in attacks, during this period.
Meanwhile the CRPF has placed under suspension the accused Sub-Inspector Bhim Singh Yadav of F-78th battalion who had fired upon the ambulance driver.
“A Departmental inquiry has been initiated against the officer,” CRPF spokesman Rajeshvar Yada told Greater Kashmir.