Care for Neyi Jamoh and others injured in Indian Army truck accident at Solmara, Assam
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What happened? On 10th April 2017, at 7.30 in the morning, an Indian Army 5/7.5 ton Stallion truck of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JKLI) was involved in a terrible accident with many civilian people injured. The event occurred at Solmara, (Sonitpur district, Assam). Neyi Jamoh, a 27-year old woman researcher from Arunachal Pradesh (East Siang district) working on conservation issues suffered grievous injuries. She suffered a brain haemorrhage, multiple fractures to her skull, as well as fractures to her nose and sinuses. Her right lung was also injured, leading to bleeding into the lung.
What was the response? Despite the accident having been caused by military vehicles, she was taken not to the nearby army healthcare facilities, but to the Civil Hospital in Tezpur. At this hospital, despite her critical condition, she lay unattended for about five hours. It took frantic searching from her research team before they found Neyi. Neyi's team immediately had her transferred to the Baptist Christian Hospital in Tezpur, where she underwent a CT scan and X-ray, that showed the potentially life-threatening extent of her injuries. Doctors at the Baptist hospital asked for an immediate referral to an emergency neurosurgery unit in Guwahati, because Tezpur did not have the medical facilities able to cope with Neyi's serious condition.
Surprisingly, an officer representative of the J&K Light Infantry refused to take any further responsibility for Neyi's critical condition, despite the fact that a heavy vehicle from this regiment was responsible for the accident. Instead, the officer claimed that support for Neyi's treatment in Tezpur was on "humanitarian grounds", indicating that his regiment was absolved of any civilian responsibility. Shockingly, the officer also refused to cover Neyi's expense towards moving her to Guwahati, or her treatment in Guwahati. He also resisted repeated requests to send a representative of the JKLI in the ambulance from Tezpur to Guwahati to help in supporting Neyi's treatment, claiming that his regiment's area of operation did not allow them to go beyond Tezpur. He also refused to communicate with Neyi's team when they tried to contact him with updates on her condition.
Meanwhile, an FIR has been filed in Tezpur.
What needs to be done?
Such behaviour from the Indian Army is arbitrary and unchivalrous, and is clearly not in keeping with its history and legacy of being sensitive and responsible in its domestic civilian engagement. It seems to reflect that the Indian Army is either unwilling or incapable of extending help to civilians, especially civilians brought to harm by their own actions. The Indian Army is looked upon with great respect as the protectors of India's citizens, especially citizens in India's border regions. Such an incident, especially involving a grievously wounded woman in a border area is contrary to the esteem with which the Indian Army is held.
We appeal to you to kindly initiate all steps needed to extend support to Neyi Jamoh and others injured. While the law will take its course on investigating the accident itself and laying blame (if at all), it is in keeping with the high expectations that we all have from the Indian Army, that it will take responsibility of all people harmed by events relating to this accident. We request that you act soon to reach out to Neyi Jamoh and her family and fufill your responsibilities towards local people affected by this event.
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