Srinagar: Sahil Hamid, a 16 year old student lost both his eyes to pellets fired by government forces at Shopian, while 12 other pellet injured, nine of those in eyes, were admitted to SMHS Hospital here on Sunday.
The only son of a Shopian labourer, Sahil would never be able to see again, doctors at SMHS Hospital said. “He has multiple perforations caused by pellets in both his eyes. Pellets have gone through and through,” a senior eye surgeon at SMHS Hospital said. He said that the injury was so grievous that “any repair would be futile”. “Multiple perforations have caused damage to multiple layers and vital areas in eyes,” he said. His scans show that a number of pellets are also abutted in his eye orbits, doctors said.
Sahil’s father, Abdul Hamid Bhat, a laborer in his 40s is devastated by the injury to his son. “He is my only son. I have brought him up myself,” Bhat said at SMHS Hospital. His father said he was “mother and father both” for his three children, Sahil being the youngest. Sahil lost his mother nine years ago to cancer. Sahil is a student of class 10. His elder sisters are also students.
As per his family, Sahil was injured at 6:30 pm at Bonmohalla Shopian when government forces were returning after an encounter in the area. “We were not there but people told us that there were only two people standing on the road and government forces fired pellets at them. Both were hit,” Muhammad Amin, uncle of Sahil said.
On Sunday, 13 people with pellet injuries were admitted to SMHS Hospital. Hospital authorities said that nine of them had eye injuries. All the injured are from Shopian and Pulwama districts.
Two more people with injuries inflicted by shells were also admitted to the hospital. One among these was a 13 year old child from Keller Shopian with burn injuries on face.
Doctors at SMHS Hospital’s Ophthalmology Department said that the number of patients with pellet injuries had increased in the past fortnight. “We received at least 35 people with pellet injuries in August,” a doctor at the department said.
In the past 10 days, four people have lost both their eyes to pellets fired by government forces. Three of these – Umar Fayaz, Farzan Sheikh and Sahil Hamid are teenagers. Farzan and Sahil are both students of class 10.
In the past 13 months in Kashmir, 74 people have been hit in both eyes with pellets while about 1100 people have been injured in eye(s) and over 8000 people have received pellet injuries in parts of body other than eyes over this period. Pellets have also caused death in at least 15 persons since July 9, 2016.