Srinagar, April 02:A 17-year-old boy is struggling for life while many pellet-hit youth are facing the risk of permanent blindness, a day after three gunfights in South Kashmir which left 20 people including 12 militants and 4 civilians dead.
A teenager of Gopalpora area of Kulgam who received bullet injury in abdomen on Sunday is critical and is battling for life at Shri Maharaj Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS) Srinagar.
The hospital remains also teeming with the pellet-hit patients, who have been admitted after the clashes between forces and protesters in different parts of Kashmir.
Muneeb Ahmad Wani, a 9th standard student, is among those who received bullets on Sunday at Kachdora Shopian encounter site—some ten kilometers away from Gopalpora village.
The youth is undergoing treatment at Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital where his condition is stated to be critical.
Recounting the horror, Muneeb’s father Abdul Majeed told Rising Kashmir that his son had gone to play cricket at a local ground with his friends, when he was hit by a bullet.
“It was 11:15 am. They were playing and suddenly heard firing and left the field to reach home. But in the mean time government forces arrived at the spot and chased the youth. There were minor clashes and security forces responded by opening fire on civilians,” he said.
The youth has received two bullets, one in abdomen and another has caused damage to his liver, according to the witnesses.
“The place where the firing happened is just 500 meters away from the playground,” said Majeed, a laborer.
Earlier, the young boy was taken to primary health centre Mohdipora where from he was referred to district hospital Kulgam and then to SMHS on a critical-care ambulance.
Medical Superintendent SMHS, Dr Saleem Tak, said that “youth has been operated by doctors and is in a critical condition.”
“He was operated yesterday but he is serious and is undergoing treatment in the ICU. He has to undergo another surgery,” he said.
On Sunday morning Alim of Nagbal village in South Kashmir’s Shopian district was excited to visit his orchard with his family to spray pesticides on apple trees but was unaware that he will land in hospital just hours later.
At SMHS hospital’s Ophthalmology ward Alim, an 8-th class student and his 14-year-old sister, Iqra were discussing how they had planned to enjoy their holiday with their family at the orchard.
“We were busy in spraying pesticides in our orchard. I was helping my family. All of sudden a pellet hit my left eye and I fell down. I do not know where from the pellets came. I screamed,” 13-year-old Alim said.
He said their land is near Dragad Sugan where an encounter had started. Alim is the only brother among four sisters. “His left eye has been damaged,” said Iqra while wiping his tears.
All the beds at hospital’s ophthalmology ward remained filled with pellet victims. They shared their tales of the bloody Sunday.
Waseem Ahmad was quick to leave his home to attend funeral prayers of slain militant, Zubair Ahmad Turray (killed in Dragad village) at Eidgah Shopian but government forces targeted those who attended prayers.
“They rained pellets on people who had gathered to offer the prayers. We were not pelting stone. Forces targeted people present in the funeral procession,” Waseem said.
Sameer Ahmad is another young boy who has received two pellets in his left eye.
“He was coming back to home from tuitions but was caught in firing and clashes. This is disheartening that forces do not see what they do,” Sameer’s father, Ghulam Mohammad said.
Naza Begum of Rawalpora Shopian is sitting next to her son Zubair, a 10th class student. He had gone to attend tuition but was fired upon with pellets on way to home.
“I was at home and all of a sudden I received a call at 9 am that my son has been hit by pellets. I did not paid heed first and later felt unconscious at the court yard. I do not know who took his school bag away,” she said.
Another pellet-hit youth, Mushtaq Ahmad, of Shopian is not able to open his right eye which has been damaged by the pellets.
“If such incidents happen in any other part of India whole media will highlight it but nobody talks about it. This is most painful,” Mushtaq’s father said.
At ward 7, another pellet hit youth Adil grabbed the attention of all the patients lying in the beds as his left eye had swelled.
“He has received at least ten pellets on his face. We were on way to work but we were caught in firing incident,” Adil said.
At the ophthalmology ward pellet victims had to even share beds. Shukour and Abass, both of Shopian village shared one bed. They were surrounded by a group of friends who arrived at the hospital amid restrictions.
The story does not end here. Mohsin a driver by profession of Arshpora is another fresh pellet hit youth at the hospital.
“He used to takes passengers especially students and employees in the morning in the sumo. On Sunday he left home at 8 am and he was stopped some distance away from our native place by forces. As the passengers alighted from the vehicle he was hit by pellets,” his brother-in-law, Mohamad Shafi said.
“I was at work and my cousin informed me over phone about it,” he said.
Another woman, Shameema of Shopian is lonely attending her son, a 12th class student on bed 31.
“We were awake for the whole night due to the sound of firing. In the morning we were at home and suddenly the forces raided our area. He was in the courtyard but he too was targeted with pellets. They even fired bullets and pellets on our house. I have never seen such a bad day,” she said.
“My husband is already ailing. He is on medicines,” Shameema said.
Dr Saleem Tak told Rising Kashmir that they received a total of 4o pellet victims and 4 bullet injury cases.
“All the patients have been hit by pellets on one eye only. Out of 40 pellet victims, 35 have been operated by the doctors, including nine who were treated at surgery and one at ANT,” he said. He also said that the remaining patients will be operated tomorrow.