Dental care takes a hit as GDC students’ strike enters 7th day

Dental College students protesting in Srinagar. -Excelsior/Shakeel
Dental College students protesting in Srinagar. -Excelsior/Shakeel

Suhail Bhat

SRINAGAR, Mar 16: As the students of Government Dental College (GDC) continue to abstain from academic activities and duties against alleged harassment by an HOD, the dental care has taken a hit, forcing patients to return home without any treatment.
Friday marked the seventh day of the protests against the College authorities for not taking action against Prof Muhammad Mushtaq, Head of the Orthodontics Department of the GDC and a guide of postgraduate students. He has been accused of harassing the students and forcing them to do his personal work.
More than 250 undergraduate and postgraduate began indefinite strike last Friday against the College administration. “We will continue the strike until the professor is removed,” a protesting doctor said.
The patient care has been badly affected as the available doctors are unable to cater to the patient rush forcing them to leave without treatment.  “I had temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction from my childhood and went for surgery last week. I had to remove the pins and see if the surgery was successful. I had to return disappointed every time I visit the hospital these days as the doctors are on strike,” Muzaffar Ahmad, a resident of North Kashmir’s Pattan area said, adding lack of treatment has put him vulnerable to the secondary infections as the pins have to be removed within two weeks.
Another patient, Sameer Ahmad, lamented that he also visited the hospital for treatment several times but was not satisfied with the services. “The doctors’ don’t listen to the patients. They simply send you away. I prefer a toothache than this callous attitude of the doctors there these days. They should listen to the doctors on strike,” he said.
The protest is backed by various associations of doctors, including Doctors’ Association Kashmir and the Society of Dental Surgeons.
Minister of State for Health and Medical Education, Asiya Naqash, when contacted said that they have initiated a process wherein everyone would be taken on board for a solution. “We are already dealing with the issue and talking to all the stakeholders”, she said, adding the issue would be resolved soon.