The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Not even right of way to hospital

Some people will be following with interest the twists and turns of the legal process involving Justice Amitava Lala’s order prohibiting rallies in Calcutta between 8 am and 8 pm after the government moved court on Wednesday against the order. Here are their stories.

Arnab Bose of Girish Park was taking his father to SSKM Hospital in an ambulance on September 23 this year. His father had picked the wrong time to be ill — there was an Intuc rally for over one hour near Esplanade.

Bose said: “My father had respiratory problems and the oxygen cylinder which was inside the ambulance stopped working. It was a precarious situation and I gave up any hope of my father surviving the ordeal. Finally, a traffic sergeant emerged on the scene and helped the ambulance find its way through the crowd. I hope others will be saved from the ordeal I went through.”

For V. Satyanarayana Reddy, CEO of Apollo Gleneagles Hospital, this Sunday afternoon three months ago would be etched in memory. He was trying to reach his hospital on the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass to make arrangements for an emergency patient.

“I spent three hours inside my car as the rally (organised by the CPM) took up the road and the police, instead of allowing the public the right of way, let the rally pass first,” Reddy said.

This happened nine years ago and goes to show how little conditions have changed. A pregnant Dola Bhattacharya, then 26, was being rushed to the Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratisthan.

“I still remember the day — it was December 16 in 1994 — I was held up for over 90 minutes on my way to hospital,” Bhattacharya said, referring to the (again) CPM rally that made her wait on the road (near the Jadavpur 8B bus terminus) till she lost consciousness. She, however, delivered a healthy baby after arriving at the hospital. “I will be happy if no other mother-to-be has to pass through what I had to endure,” she said.

Raja Sen of Garia, taking his mother to a hospital in central Calcutta after she developed a cardiac condition, was caught in a Trinamul Congress rally on January 6 this year.

“I waited for hours for the rally to move,” he recalled, adding that his pleas that the demonstrators make way for the ambulance went unheeded.

“When I reached SSKM Hospital, my mother was in such a state that the doctor told me I was not a moment too soon,” Sen said.

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