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'Aggressive' Kashmir curfew has hit healthcare, media

Srinagar, August 27, 2008:

The "aggressive" enforcement of curfew in Kashmir Valley has badly hit healthcare and media among other things, with many hospital workers scared of moving and newspapers unable to take out their print editions.

A group of social organisations in Srinagar has called upon the international humanitarian agencies, and the UN to intervene immediately "to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in Kashmir".

A joint statement issued by some eminent citizens and social organisations, said that hundreds of the injured lying in various hospitals of Kashmir, are not able to get critical medicines and the attendants are without food.

"Due to the aggressive enforcement of the curfew, the sick and injured (by the Indian armed forces) are not able to reach hospitals, resulting in deaths. Attendants of dozens of dead in various hospitals in Kashmir are awaiting their transportation to their homes for the final rites," the statement said adding, "Two pregnant women died since yesterday when the ambulances carrying them where disallowed by the Indian armed forces to reach maternity hospitals. Beating up of the drivers of the ambulances and their inability to reach hospitals has compounded the situation. Medical personnel of various hospitals in Kashmir are not able to attend their duties as identity cards and curfew passes are not being honored by the hostile troops deployed on the streets."

There is a serious dearth of medicines, baby milk, food stuff, milk and other essential commodities in the market due to the curfew and restrictions on the only road link to Kashmir.

Scores of journalists and health workers were beaten up by Indian police and troops during the curfew. None of the Srinagar based newspapers have hit the stands for the last four days.

The communications blockade has been compounded by the banning of news and current affairs programs on local cable TV channels, and ban on sms services.

The civil society has also condemned the restrictions on local media.

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