The Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) has decided to take its criticism against the Lancet editorial on revoking the autonomous status of Jammu & Kashmir to the World Congress of Psychiatry that commenced in Lisbon on Wednesday. IPS president Dr. Mrugesh Vaishnav, who is attending the Congress, will put forward the issue at the presidents’ meet to be held on Thursday.
“We have high regard for the medical journal. But this editorial is simply aimed at creating more panic and negativity,” Dr. Vaishnav told The Hindu from Lisbon. “I will be lodging an official protest from the IPS in front of all the top doctors gathered from across the world,” he said.
According to Dr. Vaishnav, the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety in the region has been triggered by cross-border terrorism for the last several years. “One of the first research papers to talk about this was in 2006 and thereafter many doctors have pointed to a similar trend. But Lancet never wrote about it in all these years. Why now?”
He said the J&K region has nearly 30 psychiatrists who are members of the IPS. “ Lancet could have got in touch with the doctors to conduct a fresh research or reached out to organisations to conduct studies or it could have sent a team to carry out its own analysis before publishing the editorial.”
Besides the IPS, the Indian Medical Association has criticised the editorial.
Some doctors, however, said Lancet regularly comments on important issues. “They have had commissions and editorials about health crisis in countries in conflict very often,” said a doctor, adding one cannot deny that the current situation in Kashmir has called for an alert in terms of health situation.
The August 17 editorial titled ‘Fear and uncertainty around Kashmir’s future’ said since the insurgency in Kashmir in 1989, the State has experienced a bloody conflict from both sides, resulting in more than 50,000 deaths. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi vows that his decision to revoke autonomy will bring prosperity to Kashmir. But first, the people of Kashmir need healing from the deep wounds of this decades-old conflict, not subjugation to further violence and alienation,” it said.