Eminent cardiologist Dr Sheikh Jalal died on Saturday at All India Institute of Medical Sciences a month after he was critically injured in a suspected militant attack at his hometown of Pampore in Kashmir.
Professor Jalal, who functioned as Director of the prestigious tertiary care hospital, Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) in Srinagar for three years after heading the Department of Cardiology and working as Dean of Medical Faculty for over 15 years, died at AIIMS where he had achieved the degree of Doctor of Medicine in Cardiology in 1980s. Until his death, Dr Jalal served as Vice President of DNB in India.
The hospital administration sources told The Hindu that he had developed infection in his lungs which led to multiple-organ failure and ultimately to his death by cardiac arrest in early hours of Saturday.
Dr Jalal's body was embalmed after post mortem by a team of doctors. It would be carried to Srinagar in an early morning flight on Sunday. Family sources said that the funeral rites would be performed at Pampore, near Srinagar.
While as political leaders and the intelligentsia in J&K have offered condolences over Dr Jalal's death and described it as an irreparable loss for the State, the medical fraternity has been severely shocked. “It's an immeasurable loss to the people of J&K in general and the medical community in particular. His contribution to infrastructural development at SKIMS stands unparalleled”, Head of CVTS Prof Ghulam Nabi Lone said.
Union Minister of Health Ghulam Nabi Azad visited AIIMS alongwith wife Shameem Azad to console Dr Jalal's wife Masooda Rajpuri who has retired as Registrar of SKIMS, a deemed university.
On July 18, Dr Jalal had been critically injured in a suspected militant attack when he was going to attend a condolence meeting in close vicinity of his ancestral home after examining a large number of patients as usual free at his clinic. Both of his Police guards had died on spot and the assassins decamped with their arms and ammunition. No militant outfit has claimed responsibility in the last one month.
His eyes, chest, lungs and other organs had got severely damaged in the armed attack. After some treatment at SKIMS, he had been shifted to AIIMS last month.
After the eminent cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon Dr Abdul Ahad Guru in 1991-92, Dr Jalal is the second senior faculty member at SKIMS who has been shot dead by suspected militants in Jammu and Kashmir.
Dr Guru, who had returned from Buffalo (USA) to serve the people in his State, was shot dead a day after being kidnapped from SKIMS. Known for his proximity to the pioneering guerrilla group Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Dr Guru is widely believed to have been eliminated by a rival militant outfit.
However the retired bureaucrat Wajahat Habibullah, who functioned as Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir in 1992-93 and later gained considerable proximity to the Kashmiri separatists like JKLF chief Yasin Malik, added a new dimension to the whole story when he wrote in a book that the JKLF ideologue Dr Guru's murder had been engineered by a government agency which later got his assassin eliminated in a covert operation.