Kashmiri officials on Friday directed district and sub-district hospitals in the state to treat critically ill patients at rural health centres at night instead of risking transferring them to Srinagar. The decision follows an incident on Thursday, where CRPF personnel fired pellets at an ambulance driver at Safa Kadal in the city. Authorities say it will help avoid confrontation with the Indian Army and CRPF personnel patrolling roads and highways at night, The Indian Express reported.

A stringent night curfew has been imposed in the Valley, particularly on the national highway, for the last two days. Ambulance driver Ghulam Mohammad Sofi was ferrying two patients from Wussan village in central Kashmir to Srinagar when he was shot. Sofi took the patients to the nearby Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital despite being severely injured and was subsequently hospitalised. The doctor treating him said he is now in stable condition. The CRPF has initiated an inquiry and suspended a sub-inspector for firing pellets at Sofi.

A superintendent at a government hospital said that ambulances are not attacked even during a war and that it has become dangerous for them to work under these circumstances. “We can’t risk the lives of our staff and patients,” he added.

State Health Minister Bali Bhagat said more than 130 ambulances of the health department have been damaged, and drivers manhandled, ever since protests began following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

Health officials have said that CRPF and police personnel are not even allowing curfew passes, issued by the district administration, since night curfew was imposed three days ago.