Mohammad Imran, and Shokat Ali, two bystanders who were injured in, and survived the February 2020, communal violence of North East Delhi were asked to appear for re-examination before a medical board to be constituted at the Lok Nayak Hospital on December 18, 2020. This was a landmark first ever of its kind intervention by the Delhi High Court which has directed that a medical panel at the hospital re-examine a victim of the Delhi riots. According to a report in The Wire, Justice Navin Chawla has directed the Superintendent of LNJP to “constitute a medical board to re-examine Imran’s injury and generate a report that describes the case in a detailed manner.”
Mohammad Imran, a 22-year-old welder by profession was injured by gunshot on February 25, 2020. According to the news report, Imran and his friends were standing outside, not far from their homes in Old Mustafabad, North East Delhi when an armed mob, identities hidden under helmets entered the lane. The mob was armed with rods, knives and guns, and the group of friends ran for their lives. They heard a gunshot, even as they escaped. According to Imran’s father, Shamsuddin who is a carpenter, he saw Imran bleeding, and with the help of another relative carried the injured man home. Shamsuddin then realised Imran had a serious gunshot injury in the genital area and his scrotum had been torn open. The Firstpost had reported this horrific injury in detail that same week. That report stated that the 22-year-old’s “scrotum and penis were ripped apart, and his anal region suffered severe injuries during police firing in Delhi’s Mustafabad.” Imran was first treated at Al Hind Hospital, and then was shifted to LNJP Hospital the next morning. The FP report quoted Imran as saying: “I had come out of the house at around 5 pm to see what was all the commotion about. I was just trying to see what was happening when something struck my private parts and I started bleeding. I went home to check what had happened. That’s when I realised my entire sack had burst. I was bleeding profusely. It was a very deep wound, and it was paining like hell. I felt like I had died”
Imran’s father Shamshuddin recalled that the “police started shooting and releasing tear gas to quell the crowd” and that Imran was “just standing there when he shouted and fell down. His trousers had turned red. We rushed him to the house and realised that it was a big wound.” That evening, Imran’s family took him to Al Hind Hospital where his life was saved, after his right scrotal sac was removed and he received 85 stitches. According to The Wire’s report, after this surgery, “the hospital refused to give any medical records to Imran and sent him to Lok Nayak Hospital (LNJP) for preparation of an MLC.” According to Imran’s family, an MLC and medical record seem to have been prepared by LNJP, however they say Imran was “never given a copy of the MLC”, “even though a number of the MLC is reflected on the medical record” provided to Imran by the hospital. The medical record provided to Imran by the LNJP hospital states that he was “injured during the protests and had received 15 cm long stitches in the genital area”, stated the news report adding that the medical report did not mention any detail about a “testicle being removed post operation.”
It notes that even as the LNJP hospital “took the time to note that the injury took place during the protests, however it did not find it necessary to mention that the area had already been operated upon when he was brought into the hospital”. The LNJP hospital also stated that ‘no surgical intervention was needed’ and that Imran was “discharged on oral medication”. According to the news report the day Imran sought admission at LNJP, “he was specifically informed that the hospital did not have any empty beds”, and the seriously injured man had to seek help from NGOs for further treatment.
Imran continued to experience pain in the injured area, and approached various doctors, all of whom informed him that his right scrotal sac had been removed during the surgery, stated the news report. He is thus entitled to claim appropriate compensation. The Delhi government’s compensation for victims of the February riots, list the amount as thus: Rs 20,000 for a simple injury, Rs 2,00,000 for a grievous injury and Rs 5,00,000 for permanent incapacitation. An MLC is prepared by the hospital where the operating doctor categorises the injury in one of those categories.
However, as a copy of the MLC was not provided to Imran, he was unable to provide the document along with his compensation form. According to The Wire, more than six months of follow ups with the sub-divisional magistrate later, Imran only received a meagre amount of Rs 20,000 from the Delhi government as compensation. According to the report even the medical record provided to Imran has “incorrect findings,” and so it is unlikely that the MLC would have reflected anything different.
In desperate need to arrange money for Imran’s ongoing treatment, his family approached the Delhi high court seeking adequate compensation. On December 4, while taking note of the fact that findings recorded on the medical record provided by LNJP (where it is recorded that no surgical intervention was needed) are contrary to the findings in the medical record placed on record by Imran (where it is recorded that Imran’s right scrotal sac had been removed), Justice Navin Chawla directed the Superintendent of LNJP to constitute a medical board to re-examine Imran’s injury and generate a report that describes the case in a detailed manner, stated the news report.
What has added to the physical injury and pain is the “hostile” attitude of LNJP staff, that the victim’s father has also alleged. According to him, the staff at LNJP reception was hostile towards Imran and taunted him saying “‘Tumhe jab sharam nahi aai jab patthar baazi kar rahay thay? Ab goli lag gayi toh yahan aagaye ho ke sarkar madad karegi’ (you were not ashamed when pelting stones? Now that you were shot you came here expecting that the government will help)”.
Imran, continues to be in pain he has been in since February, both physical and psychological. “Jab koi poochta hai main kaisa hoon, mere paas jawaab hi nahi hota… 9 mahinay se sirf dard mehsoos hota hai har jagah (When someone asks me how I’m doing, I don’t have any answers… for the past nine months, all I have felt is pain),” quotes the report .
In the same petition, another survivor Shokat Ali, who was shot in his left thigh when he crossed Chaman Park’s Aqsa Masjid February 25, has also been asked to appear before the medical board. According to the report, Shokat’s medical record provided by the Lok Nayak Hospital states: “Injury during protests at Mustafabad around 1 pm.” The medical documents provided by the hospital in his case too, “fail to mention the actual nature of injuries” stated the report, adding that even Shokat has not been given a copy of his MLC.
The two men will now appear for re-examination before a medical board to be constituted at the Lok Nayak Hospital on December 18, 2020. It is crucial to remember that the Delhi high court has taken note of the fact that findings recorded on the medical record provided by LNJP (where it is recorded that no surgical intervention was needed) are contrary to the findings in the medical record placed on record by Imran (where it is recorded that Imran’s right scrotal sac had been removed).