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Kashmiri ISM doctors threaten mass suicide on India's Republic day

Jan 16, 2007:

The association of doctors practicising Indian Science of Medicine (ISM) in Indian administered Kashmir has threatened of mass suicides by its members, on the eve of India’s Republic Day, if their services with the state government are not regularised.

According to the association there are at least 350 ISM doctors working on contract basis with the state government. The association fears the contract services can be suspended any time and wants government to regularise them.

The Indian System of Medicine includes the Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine.

"We were appointed in 2001 and were placed in far flung militancy infested areas of the state. We risked our lives to serve people, but the government is turning a blind eye to us" a delegation of ISM doctors told Kashmir Newz.

Most of these doctors, which also include 67 females, are posted in government run hospitals in the distant locales all across the mountainous state.

According to these doctors, the government has ordered them to be relieved of their government duties under new rules. "If after giving more than five years of our service the government is asking us to quit, where will we go" asked Dr. Javid. "Many of us have passed the recruitment age limit," he adds.

"When the situation was not ripe they used us. We risked lives and have been posted at places where it takes 3-day trek to reach," says Altaf Ahmad, another ISM doctor.

The doctors are demanding the regularization of their services and pending which they threaten to immolate themselves in full glare on the eve of India's Republic day on January 26.

Syed Tassaduq Geelani general secretary of Association of ISM doctors of says "we have no other option than to embrace death which we will do on January 26". Further adding that the state authorities will be responsible for the ensuing consequences.

Indian administered Kashmir is reeling under heavy financial crunch and in a desperate move to curtail expenses, government is seen adopting the new measures like cut off of government employees and contractual hiring of new ones on meager salaries.

In the absence of vibrant industrial set up, the unemployment rate has been soaring in the state and the latest figures put these numbers at more than half a million, with 15 percent increase every year.


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