Who is responsible for Naeem Akhtar’s health, asks family after PDP leader hospitalized

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Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader and former minister Naeem Akhtar was hospitalized last night as he lost consciousness.

Akhtar, who remains under detention since last month, was immediately shifted to Khyber Medical Institute, Srinagar. One of the senior doctors in the hospital administration said that Akhtar’s condition is stable and he will be discharged after two days of being under observation.

Shehryar Khanum, Akhtar’s daughter, said that Akhtar was chatting with fellow detainees after dinner in Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) hostel Srinagar when he fell unconscious for 40 minutes.  “They tried to wake him up but he seemed disoriented,” Khanum told The Kashmir Walla over the phone. 

“This would have happened previously when he was kept alone for five days in a 50 room building, nobody could have ever known this,” said Khanum. “Whose responsibility is to take care of him?”

The Jammu and Kashmir administration detained Akhtar from his home on the evening of 21 December 2020, prior to District Development Council (DDC) poll result. He has been under detention for the past twenty-five days, however, the reason for his detention is unknown. “We still haven’t received any written or oral communication about the reason for his arrest,” said Khanum.

Akhtar was under detention earlier as well in the August 2019 clampdown. He was set free on 17 September 2020 by the administration of Jammu and Kashmir after spending over a year along with other political leaders in custody.

“The doctors say a patient with such medical history should not be kept in these conditions,” said Khanum, adding that her father has severe health issues and has to take proper precautions regarding his health. “He has undergone bypass surgery in 2006 as he had a blockade in six arteries which then resulted in a massive heart attack.”

Despite his severe medical condition, Akhter’s medical check-up wasn’t conducted prior to his detention, said Khanum. Khanum is worried that her father might fall ill again in the future and “that is a matter of stress”.

Khanum said that he is advised to exercise daily and also stay in warm conditions as cold worsens health for a cardiac patient. “When this news came to us, all of us were of the thought that is due to his ailing heart issues,” she said, adding that the cause hasn’t been confirmed yet. “Since last night, he has undergone many tests and the testing procedure is still on.”

She claimed that the place where her father is kept is “worse”, given the current climate. “The doctors say a patient with such medical history should not be kept in such conditions,” she said.

The doctor at the hospital said that Akhtar is under observation and the cause will be known after proper evaluation.

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