17-year-old loses sight due to injuries

SRINAGAR: Abdul Hamid Bhat, 55, sighs as he looks at the blood-soaked clothes of his son, trying hard to hold back emotions. He struggles to speak every time visitors ask about his well-being. After a pause, he breaks into tearsas he begins to narrate a horrific tale.

On Sunday, his son, 17-year-old Sahil Hamid of Bonbazaar Shopian had a close shave with death near a children park when pellets fired by CRPF personnel hit him in both eyes. He fell unconscious and has not been able to see through his eyes ever since. Bhat has doubts if he his son could see the world ever again.
Though Sahil, a 12th class student, was lucky to survive, two persons fell to bullets of CRPF in the district on Sunday after protests broke out following an encounter in a neighbouring Awneera village that led to the killing of of a militant commander and his two associates.
Hamid, who is a farmer, says a group of CRPF men peppered people in their area with pellets without any provocation leaving many of them blind.
“CRPF men who were coming back from encounter site fired at people indiscriminately near Children Park in our village. There was no provocation as there was hardly any protest or stone-pelting in the area,” Hamid said.
According to him, a barrage of pellets hit Sahil on both eyes.
“What was his fault and why was he targeted?” the father asks.
“The CRPF men fired pellets towards us and showed no mercy. They fired without any provocation and inflicted these wounds on me when I was sitting in the children park,” says Sahil as he shows pellet wounds on his body at SMHS hospital.
“The pellets hit me on my face including the forehead and eyes leaving me unconscious,” he told Kashmir Reader.
Doctors treating him at SMHS Hospital say they have operated him and he needs close monitoring for at least one week till they decide about the future course of treatment.
“There are perforations in his both eyes as pellets have penetrated the eye-balls. We have repaired the pores in both eyes. However, we will have to do surgery to bring back his eyesight,” they say.
Sahil’s friend, Muhammad Azhar Naikoo, who was also injured in the incident, has been discharged from SMHS hospital after initial treatment for pellet wounds all-over his body.
His uncle, Mushtaq Ahmad told Kashmir Reader that CRPF men fired indiscriminately injuring nearly 30 people in their village, most of them children.
“It was a terrifying day for us as CRPF personnel didn’t spare anybody while on way back from encounter site,” he says.
Over twenty injured persons have been admitted to SMHS Hospital, most of them with pellet injuries.

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