Srinagar, April 12(Zehri Nissa): In nearly twenty-five years of their marriage they have not for a single moment drifted away from one another. Their commitment to the marriage has been complete in spite of not having a child and yet the cruel hand of destiny may wrench them away from each other, forever.
On Wednesday morning , the 53-year-old Abdul Salam Bhat and his wife Muneera Begum had breakfast at their home and soon Bhat stepped out to meet a contractor for his work. A crewel embroidery artisan who earned enough to get by, Bhat’s neck was pierced by a bullet at the Qaimoh village while the government forces were firing on a crowd of protestors marching towards the site of the gun battle to help the besieged militants flee from the place.
His wife, Muneera, perhaps knows his chances of survival are slim. Sobbing on a wooden bench in the compound of S.M.H.S. Hospital, in Srinagar, she is staring at a future without her husband. “Who will you leave me to? I have none but you,” she cried as Dilshada Begum, her husband’s sister, broke down while comforting her.
For many hours of a day he would sit in a corner in his home, his head bent over, embroidering laboriously, a work that would earn him six hundred rupees in ten days of work. “Why did you leave home?” Muneera cried again. “He is my entire family. Allah never blessed me with a child. Will he now take away my only support too?”
Seeing her in agony many strangers went up to console her. An old man with a grey beard said with a sigh. “May Allah have his mercy upon us Kashmiris now. Our young generation is getting consumed in this violence.”
A surgeon came out of the operation theater said that Bhat was in a critical condition. “The bullet has cut through Bhat’s main blood vessel in neck and he has lost a lot of blood. Let us hope he is able to make it” the surgeon said. For now Bhat has been put on a ventilator.
Apart from him, there are 15 people with injuries of various levels of severity being treated in the hospitals of Srinagar. Six have gunshot wounds, seven have eye injuries from pellets fired by the government forces and the two have injuries from stone and tear gas shell.
At SKIMS, in Soura, two persons with head injuries are being treated in the hospital. The twenty-five-year-old Adil Ahmad lay in the Intensive Care Unit with a severe head injury from a shell fired by the forces on protestors. The shell hit him directly in the head. Lying somewhere close by is the station house officer of the Baramulla Police Station, Khaled Ahmad. A stone thrown by protestors in the town landed on his head, fracturing his skull.
Medical superintendent of the hospital, Dr Farooq Jan, said that a civilian, Adil Ahmed, had sustained a head injury. “He is very sick, but we are trying our best to save him,” he said.
Seven youngsters were brought to S.M.H.S. Hospital for the treatment of eye injuries from pellets. “We are evaluating them, and for now, will only be closing the entry wounds,” said a doctor on duty.