Injured fear police profiling, prefer being ‘nameless’

He is 14-year-old and is battling severe pellet injuries in his left eye at the general specialty SMHS hospital here.
Injured fear police profiling, prefer being ‘nameless’
Photo: Aman Farooq/GK

He is 14-year-old and is battling severe pellet injuries in his left eye at the general specialty SMHS hospital here. But the teenaged student is a "nameless" patient in Ward No 5. Instead a number identifies him.

This is how scores of youth and teenagers injured in action by forces during the past four days—following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani on July 8—are being identified by doctors at the hospital. The numbering is a "means to avoid their profiling" by police's Criminal Investigation Department (CID), sources said.

"My number is 18," said the teenager from Pulwama as he took out a piece of paper from his pocket, which has the number mentioned on it. 

He was admitted in the hospital on Sunday. "There was a protest in our village and I had just gone out to watch it when pellets fired by the forces hit me," said the teenager.

Fearing profiling by the police, the injured persons and their relatives have been requesting the doctors to hide the identity of their kin. Like in ward No 5, the injured in other wards identify themselves by numbers instead of their names or place of residence.

"We came here on Saturday and in late afternoon, two policemen approached me for the details about the injured person," said Muhammad Yusuf (name changed) from Anantnag (Islamabad) whose brother is undergoing treatment for multiple pellet injuries in his back and both legs.

"The police have been visiting wards here to get the details of the injured persons."

A senior doctor at the SMHS hospital complained about the "interference" by the police in providing treatment to the patients. "Even some policemen were standing outside the operation theater on Monday asking relative of the injured persons, who were being operated upon, for the details," said the doctor, wishing anonymity.

Another senior doctor said whenever the hospital admits patients injured in protests, sleuths of CID visit the institute for profiling them.

"This is nothing new but now we have been witnessing that these injured persons usually hide their identity owing to the fear of police or identify themselves by a false name to escape profiling by the cops. To avoid the confusion during their follow up treatment, the injured persons are being given numbers now," said the doctor.

He said the police started profiling of the persons injured in the protests in 2008 when Kashmir witnessed a summer agitation against transfer of land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board in which 60 people were killed in action by forces.

However Senior Superintendent of Police (Srinagar) Amit Kumar said: "Police isn't profiling the injured persons."

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