Panic-stricken medical students leave from colleges

Though no formal orders have been issued by the administrations of the medical colleges in Kashmir, hundreds of students, mostly from Jammu province have fled the colleges after Government issued advisory to tourists and Amarnath Yatris to return from Kashmir immediately.

A senior administrator in Government Medical College Srinagar said that beginning Friday, a number of parents urged the authorities to declare vacations and allow their students to leave the station. However, when no such order was issued, many students put in leaves and left the stations, he said.

At SKIMS Medical College also, an official said, students belonging to Jammu province had left for homes in the past two days. “Many of our students are moving on Sunday. The advisory issued by Government urging Yatris and tourists to leave Kashmir had created a panic among students and their families. Although their career is at stake, but their parents fear for their safety due to these orders now,” he said.

He added that the “evacuation” of students of National Institute of Technology (NIT) had added “fuel to the fire” and even those students, who had stayed here during 2016 unrest in Kashmir had packed their bags.

Principal GMC Srinagar, Prof Parvaiz A Shah said that the medical college was “running as usual.” “We have exams going on and classes are also in progress as normal,” he said. He however said that MBBS first year students, those who had joined beginning August had been allowed to leave. “We will be starting their classes after Eid,” he said. He assigned the reason of delay in starting of classes to apprehensions of parents and said that both students from Kashmir as well as Jammu had left for homes.

Director SKIMS Prof Omar Javed Shah said that “some students might have left” on their own and denied issuing any order to call off classes or other academic work.

However, other sections of the medical colleges, including hospitals were functioning as normal, hospital authorities said. Director SKIMS said that the hospital was on alert and ready as unusual. “Uncertain conditions have been prevalent here for a long time and our health systems, especially SKIMS, is well equipped to deal with any emergency,” he said. He said that some faculty was on vacation and the Institute had no plans to curtail their time. “We have about 500 in-house residential doctors here allowing us to cater to any need,” he said.

Principal GMC Srinagar said that all hospitals under GMC Srinagar had a contingency plan. “We have a system in place and that system includes emergencies to be kept operational 24 x 7,” he said.

Director health services Kashmir Dr Kunzes Dolma said that doctors and other staff deployed for Amarnath Yatra health services had been recalled. She said that this workforce will augment the health institutions in peripheries. “We are not issuing any special instructions as health is itself an emergency service by nature,” she said.