Jammu & Kashmir

After pharma companies terminate Kashmiris, doctors in Srinagar say ‘won’t prescribe their medicines or allow their representatives’

Srinagar: After suspension of Kashmiris from pharmaceutical companies, based on their social media posts regarding killing of Central Reserve Police Force personnel in Pulwama district, doctors from many hospitals in Kashmir have condemned the move and decided not to allow them or their representatives at their work place.

After February 14, the day on which 49 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed in a suicide attack claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammad, many students have been rusticated and employees are being terminated on the basis of their posts on social media.

On 15 February, Riyaz Ahmad Wani, a Kashmiri employee working with Macleods Pharmaceuticals Limited in Mumbai posted on his Facebook account, “Athh Wanaaan Surgical strike” (This is called surgical strike).

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He has been asked to write a ‘Show Cause’ within seven days, “as to why his services should not be terminated with immediate effect for his anti-national attitude.”

“Because of your anti-national message on the social network, the company has started receiving furious comments/reactions, which are not only defaming our organisation but tarnishing image and questioning us as to why such anti-national element exists in our organization,” reads the letter he has received from the organisation’s administration.

Calling his post, “grave and serious in nature” he has been suspended with immediate effect pending further action.

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Another Kashmiri Iqbal Hussain working as a Marketing Executive in Respicare Division of Zydus Healthcare Ltd’s Srinagar Headquarter has also been suspended till he submits a Show Cause notice for commenting on Wani’s post.

After the news spread, doctors from the valley condemned the companies questioning their double standards on ethics and morals.

“I don’t want a drug by these hypocritical companies who suspended Kashmiri employees but didn’t take a moral stand at the grotesque human rights violations in Kashmir over last three decades,” Khan Khawar Achakzai, Registrar Internal Medicine Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital wrote in his Facebook post.

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Speaking to Free Press Kashmir, doctors who did not want to be named, identified with Khan’s stand. “As far as I know, these pharmaceutical companies won’t let even a single prescription go from their hands. All the doctors from the main to the tertiary level hospitals boycotting certain companies, will meant a lot to them. They will seriously have to reconsider the decisions and the terminations which they have made in the last week.”

“They should reinstate all the people. They should have taken moral high grounds when Kashmiris were killed and there were human rights violations in Kashmir as well.”

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“All the doctors in SKIMMS and SMHS have decided to boycott the companies. It doesn’t matter if it changes things or not. At this point, resistance is more about symbolism.”

“If someone comments something on Facebook, that does not entitle him to get suspended from a particular company, government or private. The political inclinations of a particular person has no bearing on where he works.”

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“The drugs we get in the hospital, 90 percent of them come through JKMSCL, Jammu Kashmir Medical Supplies Corporation Limited. Rest of the drugs, we get on our own.”

“The doctors can restrain from prescribing their medicine or products but officially we are not banning them.”

One of the doctors told Free Press Kashmir that they are preparing a list of the medicines manufactured by these companies so they can ask doctors to not prescribe them.

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