Srinagar: Danish Ayub, 16, raised the hopes of his family in 2016 when he topped in his school in the Class 10 Board exams. Danish, too, felt more confident of pursuing his dream of becoming a doctor. That dream is now on the verge of darkness as he battles severe eye damage sustained in the pellet firing by government troops at Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid this Friday.
Pellets hit Danish all over the face and pierced his left eye. Doctors at SMHS Hospital, where he is admitted, say he may not recover vision in the eye because the eyeball has been severely damaged.
“My eyes are hurting and I am unable to open my eyes and see anything,” he spoke in a barely audible voice at Ward 8 of SMHS on Saturday. “I am worried about my studies. How will I fulfil my dreams now?”
“Perforation due to pellet injury in the retina and cornea has damaged his left eye badly,” said the doctor treating him. “It’s difficult to decide on the treatment as his eyes were hit with many pellets, leading to serious injuries. We may need more time to decide on his treatment plan,” the doctor said.
According to his family, Danish was inside the Jamia Masjid premises when police fired at him from one of the main gates. “There was a peaceful rally outside the grand mosque when police and paramilitary used teargas shells and pellets to disperse the crowd. They closed the gates of the mosque and fired pellets inside,” family members said.
Police said they fired because they came under intense stone-pelting during the protest.
Danish’s mother, Shahnaza, said the family was shattered after doctors told them that Danish may not regain vision in his left eye.
“He was a topper at his school in Class 10 exams with 98 percent marks. He opted for medical and his dream is to become a doctor. That dream has been shattered by the cruel government forces,” she said.
She said that Danish’s treatment is costly and the family cannot afford it. “We are already facing a huge debt following a serious blaze some years ago that damaged our two-storey house completely,” she said.
“His father is earning a meagre amount from selling fruits. It will not suffice to treat his serious injuries,” she said.
The 40-year-old Shahnaza appealed to affluent people and NGOs to come forward to help. “We are clueless about how to finance his treatment as we have a huge family to support,” she said.
Among the other injured admitted to SMHS is a youth, Basit Ahmad, who was hit by pellets in both his eyes. Another youth, Lateef Ahmad of Khanyar, was admitted in a critical condition following pellet injuries.
On Friday, SMHS Hospital admitted 34 injured persons among whom 12 had been hit by pellets in the eyes, according to the Medical Superintendent Dr Saleem Tak.
“Most of them have been discharged but some of them may need hospitalisation for multiple surgeries,” Dr Tak said.