Agence India Press
Srinagar: Red Cross mark, regulated by International and National laws, is not emblem of the medical professionals though being misused in Kashmir. It is an emblem belonging to those who are involved in Red Cross missions and humanitarian works mainly at the times of armed conflict and natural disasters.
While talking to the Agence India Press, Shabir Ahmad, a student of Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar said, “It is unfortunate that medical professionals are misusing Red Cross emblem when there is specific signs for doctors, ambulances, hospitals and pharmacists.”
“Misuse of emblem diminishes the protective value of the emblem and undermines the significant assistance,” says Ahmad.
Another student of GMC Mohammad Mohsin Malik said, medical professionals should respect Red Cross mark, its misuse hampers International Committee for Red Cross (ICRC) to function in certain situations and its mis-use is illegal and punishable under laws.
In 1960 the Parliament of India made a law regulating the use of emblem and called it the Geneva Convention Act, chapter IV of this Act deals with the abuse of the emblem. Section 12 read with section 13 of the chapter makes unauthorized use of the Red Cross emblem or its imitations a punishable offence.
Head of the Department of Community Medicine GMC, Doctor Safoora Bilquees said, “when turmoil erupted in the valley, medical professionals misused the emblem because people were not aware of it, even security forces were not fully aware of it. They felt secure while using the emblem.”
She said now situation has changed ICRC is moving heaven and earth to create awareness among the people about Red Cross, it is unfortunate it is still being misused.
Project Officer Red Cross Society Srinagar Doctor Shaziya Kawoos said, “I agree to some extent that during turmoil medical professional used emblem just because they feel it is secure and they would not to be targeted.
“People were not aware about the emblem but now we try to put the best foot foremost to aware people and security forces although army is already aware and they are allowed to use the emblem in armed conflicts,” Kawoos added.
She said last year they held a Red Cross awareness camp in police training center where they met 800 trainees and they are also trying to reach a common man from pillar to post, they are going to conduct many programs in schools, colleges and universities.
“We are in progress by and we will try to make aware every section of community, it is not going to happen in a day” Kawoos said.
She said we also approached the concerned authorities of medical profession. Now it is their duty to stop misuse of emblem, last year we did yeoman’s service in collaboration with Drug controlling society and Jammu and Kashmir Traffic police to stop misuse of emblem.
‘‘Misuse of emblem is offence according to the law, however there is no written specific authority to fine and charge misuser of the emblem” he added.
She said, “I request medical professionals not to misuse the emblem and let Red Cross maintain its identity, we are humanitarian workers, we do not want to take people to task.”
It is unfortunate that medical professionals are still misusing the emblem, when there are specific signs for them. Each and every one of us should preserve and strengthen the protective value of the emblem. We are all individually responsible for safeguard and protection offered by the emblem, which tomorrow could save our lives.
Authority should take serious and positive steps to stop the misuse of the emblem and let the world’s most successful humanitarian movement (Red Cross) function smoothly and serve victims. (AIP NEWS)
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