Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar today faced a massive protest at Srinagar’s Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital as a hostile crowd made the leader leave institution premises during his visit to meet pellet gun victims. Aiyar, who was a part of a ten-member delegation, was made to leave the hospital forcefully, while some of the journalists were reportedly allowed to interact with patients. The volunteers and attendants protested against Aiyar’s visit to the hospital as they didn’t want any politician to meet the victims. Some of The Indian Express sources revealed that victims met with the group of journalists and shared their grievances.
“They were not allowed to take photographs in the ophthalmology wards, where most of the pellet victims are admitted,” Ubaid Ahmad, a volunteer in the hospital was quoted as saying by the India Express. Anti-India slogans like “Go India Go Back” and “We just want azadi and nothing more”, were also raised in the hospital, said the report. The ten-member delegation also included social activist Shabnam Hashmi, former Air vice-marshal Kapil, journalist Prem Shankar Jha among others. Volunteers accompanied the delegation towards where the injured, while the protesters kept shouting the slogans.
Bashir Assad, one of the members of the delegation said that visit was to make an analysis of the damage done to victims. He also said that the visit was not made on behest of any party. “The purpose of the delegation was to assess the damage caused by pellet guns and listen to the injured. We were not at anybody’s behest in the hospital,” Assad was quoted as saying in the report.
Assad, who was formerly associated with People’s Democratic Party(PDP), said that Aiyar was turned away due to his Congress affiliation. Remarkably, “civil society members” were the first delegation to visit the hospital since violent clashes broke out in Valley following the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani on July 8.