This is a follow-up from the happenings in Sukma.
After MLCs of the villagers who were beaten up were done in Sukma hospital, it was felt that four of them needed further orthopedic care. However, the whole district of Sukma does not have a single orthopedic to attend to people with broken bones. Our next option was to call a 108 ambulance and get them to Maharani Hospital in Jagdalpur.
But the ambulance is only available for emergencies. Therefore, we pooled in money alongwith a sarpanch of Chhotey Tongpal (from where the four injured villagers are) and hired a private car
to get them to Jagdalpur. They reached Jagdalpur late in the evening on 30.11.2014. The four villagers were 40-year-old Bhime- right hand badly swollen, 50 years old Hungi- left arms swollen and having problem breathing, 60 years old Hungi- left leg swollen and 30-year-old Joga- right hand swollen.
What was astonishing was that within minutes of them reaching the hospital, the attending doctors started getting calls from the police inquiring about the villagers and soon the emergency ward was full of media personnel who were hassling the injured villagers and asking questions like “ if they were beaten up by the naxalites”, despite the fact that the translator accompanying the villagers made it very clear that they were beaten up by the police. The attending orthopedic suggested some x-rays for three of the villagers- Bhime, Hungi (50 years old) and Joga. He also prescribed a temporary plaster. However the x-ray facility was closed and no one was available for doing the temporary plaster in the night.
On the morning of 1st Dec 2014, when I asked for the medical records of the four villagers, which were submitted, to the attending nurse, the night before, I was denied access to them. I was told that I cannot access medical records in an MLC case and the records go straight to the police. Till now, we do not have access to any medical record. Every person admitted in the surgical ward is apparently supposed to undergo an HIV test. It was rather ironical that because it was World AIDS Day, the hospital facility for HIV testing was shut and Joga was sent outside to a private facility wherein he shelved money out of his pocket to get tested for HIV.
While the villagers had their rashan cards and they all are BPL, but , they did not have the provision of free medicines. According to the hospital staff, free medicines were only available to adhaar card – holders and the staff was scolding the people accompanying the villagers for not getting their adhaar card made. I bought the required dressings- plaster etc. and ended up paying about Rs 1100 for everything. The indifference of everybody, from the state administration that has now limited access to free medicines to only smart card holders, to the hospital staff that wasn’t concerned about how they will access medicines in the absence of a smart card was quite appalling.
The police surveillance continued through the day. I was stopped by a police officer and asked questions. The police personnel had the X-ray report in the afternoon, despite the fact that report had not reached the ward or doctor. People from the media also kept barging in and interviewing the villagers inside the surgical ward with no respect for their privacy. By the evening we somehow managed to get temporary plasters done for Bhime and Hungi. Joga still couldn’t get a plaster.
Till further developments..
Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group