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Kashmir communications blackout is putting patients at risk, doctors warn

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l5204 (Published 19 August 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5204

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Re: Kashmir communications blackout is putting patients at risk, doctors warn

Dear author and editor

It is heartening for bmj to comment on the human catastrophe that is Kashmir. We need to bring to light these humanitarian issues with lack of access to information and health care created by military might and not by natural disaster.

Being from Kashmir and having trained in Kashmir I have first hand reports from Srinagar, the busy hospitals that would normally be overflowing with patients are deserted, people have very limited access to medications, and not having worked for 2 weeks, most people have to choose between food or medicines. This is a disaster created by the authoritarian nationalist government of India and not due to natural disaster, you don’t have to be a genius to understand that people are dying at home since they can’t reach the hospital, a simple glance at the situation is enough to indicate that.

I urge the authorities in Kashmir to lift the information blockade, communication blockade and travel restrictions before we have the blood of innocents on our hands.

I am sure there will be a backlash from some in the Indian community who call themselves civilized and still condone repression in the name of nationalism.
I commend you to do this public service and respect your views

Dr. Khalid Ashai MBBS, FACC
Interventional cardiology
Chairman div of cardiology
Univ of Maryland,
Capital regional health system
Cheverly, MD USA

Competing interests: No competing interests

19 August 2019
Khalid Ashai
Cardiologist
Maryland, USA