SRINAGAR: Arif Ahmad Lone, of Kulgam, lies motionless on a bed in SK Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) here, his striped t-shirt stained red by the blood that had oozed from his mouth when army’s bullet hit him on Tuesday.
His elder brother, Tasadduq Ahmad Lone has been on his toes. His paternal uncle, Hussain, has his eyes gazed on Arif, constantly examining any movement in his little nephew.
The left jaw of Arif is stitched in such a way that he cannot move any of his facial muscles; he can only signal with his eyes.
“Luck favoured Arif. God forbid, I don’t know what would have happened had the bullet pierced his head,” says Tasadduq.
A few days back, a similar incident had taken place in south Kashmir’s Shopian district, where three civilians were shot dead by the army.
However, as per Tasadduq, Arif’s condition looks “stable” and isn’t “life-threatening”.
“It was around 10:30 in the morning and Arif was off to attend his tuition. It’s tough to believe the media that says my brother was a part of the stone-pelters,” says Tasadduq.
“In fact, I don’t even think there was any stone-pelting.”
By the time Tasadduq says this, Arif points his index finger and rolls his eyes towards the water bottle kept on the table to his left.
Before feeding him water, Tasadduq pours a glass of milk into a test-tube and injects it into the tube that goes through Arif’s nose and down into his stomach.
Tasadduq then follows the same procedure to serve Arif water, causing him pain that can be easily noticed: Arif keeps his eyes squeezed and grips his uncle’s arm tightly as the water slides down into his stomach.
“Doctors have told us he will have to undergo plastic surgery. His face is severely damaged. I just hope he gets alright,” Tasadduq says, placing his hand on Arif’s head.
As per Tasadduq, his family had no idea that Arif was shot at by the forces, until they got a call from the villagers when he was already admitted to the district hospital Anantnag.
“We thought he was busy with tuition, preparing for his class 12 exams, until we were told that a bullet fired by the army had hit him. I rushed to the hospital and saw him bleeding profusely. It killed me from the inside to see him crying in pain,” narrates Tasadduq.
“What can a common man like do about my younger brother getting shot at? Indian army is powerful. I could do nothing other than sitting here, and hoping that this never happens to anyone again. It’s not easy.”
By Zishan Amiri
C: Kashmir Monitor