- Photos of PM Modi's visit to the hospital triggered a controversy online
- Allegations "malicious and unsubstantiated", said Indian Army
- PM Modi made an unannounced visit to Ladakh on Friday
The Indian Army on Saturday said allegations that a medical ward had been set up to stage a photo op for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to a military hospital in Ladakh were "malicious and unsubstantiated". The medical ward was an audio-video training room that had been converted as part of the COVID-19 protocol long before PM Modi's visit, it said.
"It is unfortunate that aspersions are being cast on how our brave Armed Forces are treated. The armed forces give the best possible treatment to their personnel," the army said in a statement.
Prime Minister Modi made an unannounced visit to Ladakh on Friday, weeks after a clash with Chinese troops left 20 Indian soldiers dead. He also met soldiers who were injured and are being treated at the hospital.
The government billed PM Modi's visit to the Nimu in Ladakh as one to a "forward location" in Ladakh even though the Galwan valley, where the clash took place, is at least 200 km by road and Nimu has long been a popular tourist destination. Forward posts are generally within 40 km of the frontline and fall within range of enemy fire.
Photographs released by the BJP and the government of PM Modi's visit to the hospital also triggered a controversy online as many said that the facility did not look like a hospital as there were no medicine cabinets, intravenous fluid stands, and other medical equipment.
Some even spotted a projector hanging from the ceiling as PM Modi posed next soldiers on tidy beds with wheels in a sparkling clean room.
To paraphrase a certain 'journalist' -— Doctor Roshan R ???? (@pythoroshan) July 4, 2020
Not in living memory have I ever seen a hospital ward filled with patients that had a projector & screen at the end.
Not in living memory have I seen a ward with zero medical equipment available at any angle. pic.twitter.com/dUFfOFvIB6
#ChaiWalaMBBS— Chhotubhai Vasava (@Chhotu_Vasava) July 4, 2020
These are the Soldiers Injured in #GalwanValleyFaceOff ????????♀️????????♂️
All in Pranayama Posture
Who's the Director of this Sanitised Stage - No Other Hospital Gear Visible #Leh_Ladakh#5thSchedule#India#ModiSurrendersToChina#StatueOfDisplacement#examscancelledpic.twitter.com/C2yqwRa3Kz
Things we see in hospitals— प्रशान्त रावत (@rawatprashantt) July 4, 2020
✔️Side table with Water/Medicine/reports
Things we don't see in hospitals
✖️Dias with Mike
✖️All patients Sitting (Positioned), "Quote(ALL)" pic.twitter.com/6CkEfDPCaK
Sources say that the Modi visit hospital pics are genuine. But, it speaks volumes that something like this is even questioned. Insane amounts of fakery in the past six years— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) July 4, 2020
Rubbishing the allegations, the Indian Army issued a statement on Saturday, saying, "There have been malicious and unsubstantiated accusations in some quarters regarding the status of the facility visited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the General Hospital at Leh on July 3."
"It is clarified that the said facility is part of the Crisis Expansion capacity of 100 beds and is very much part of the General Hospital complex," it added.
It said the COVID-19 protocol had necessitated some wards of the hospital to be converted into isolation facilities.
"Hence, this hall which otherwise was normally used as a Training Audio Video Hall was converted into a ward ever since the hospital was also designated as COVID-19 treatment hospital," it said.
The army said the "injured braves have been kept there since their arrival from Galwan to ensure quarantine from COVID areas. The Chief of Army Staff General M M Naravane and the Army Commander have also visited the injured braves in the same location."