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Pak forcelifts survivors

Pak forcelifts survivors

Author: Pradeep Thakur, Indrani Bagchi & Megha Suri
Publication: The Times of India
Date: February 23, 2007
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1662508.cms

Introduction: Patients with critical burns rushed out of Hospital, put onto plane

Seven survivors of the Samjhauta Express tragedy were forced on Thursday to leave Safdarjung Hospital on short notice and taken away to a waiting Pakistan Air Force aircraft to be flown back home.

All of them were badly burned and a few of them pleaded that they be allowed to stay back for a few days more for their wounds to heal. Some said they had no one at home to look after them. But the doctors said they were helpless; these were orders from above.

It transpires that Pakistan was adamant to take back their citizens who had survived the blast, no matter what their medical condition. To make matters worse for them, they were rushed out of the sanitised burns unit in the afternoon, but until the time of writing their aircraft had not taken off, ostensibly due to ''technical reasons''. In other words, they are waiting in the plane without medical attention.

Some of them need it badly. For instance, 9-year-old Shamim was on ventilator when he was almost dragged out of Safdarjung's ICU along with six others and put on a PAF special aircraft to be airlifted to Lahore. Some of the blast victims cried in vain to be allowed to stay back till they recuperated.

As early as Monday, Pakistan asked the Indian government for permission to bring a C-130 transport aircraft to airlift injured Pakistani citizens from Indian hospitals. Baffled, the Indian government took a little time to digest this. The Pakistani victims had been badly injured in body and in spirit and it seemed a very strange request. Finally, India said the injured could be removed only after medical clearance.

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