SRINAGAR: Despite incidents of protests and stone pelting declining over the past one month, pellets fired by the forces continue to snatch vision in Kashmir.
While SMHS Hospital’s Ophthalmology department is now frequented and its wards occupied by pellet victims visiting for the follow-up check-ups and surgeries, a few fresh pellet injuries are the norm even after ‘improved situation’ in Kashmir.
A teenage boy Danish Habib, 18, of Sopore is one among fresh pellet victims. His both eyes have been hit by pellets. While one of his eyes is hit in the sclera (the white part of eyes), luckily sparing his vital visual organs, the other eye is bloody, ‘inside and outside’. “His left eye has vitreous hemmorahge. The injury seems to be bad but it is too early to comment about his vision,” a doctors at SMHS Hospital said.
Doctors’ opinion apart, Danish feels devastated by the injury. “I have lost my eye. I know for sure because I cannot see anything with it,” he said.
Only son of a poor laborer, Muhammad Habib Changa, Danish had dropped out after class 10 to help his father earn for the family.
However, Friday afternoon proved a life changer for the poor family as pellets fired by forces injured Danish critically as he received the ‘mini-bullets’ in his neck, arm, chest, face and both eyes.
In the past one week, three pellet hit youth have been admitted at SMHS Hospital with injuries in eye(s). These youth, all hailing from Sopore, were injured when forces fired pellets on them, while ‘handful of people’ were pelting stones last Friday after prayers, as per the victims. “There were four people who were pelting stones and forces in order to disperse them, fired pellets,” Muzamil Rashid, an attendant of a victim at SMHS Hospital said.
Doctors said that although the number of pellet victims admitted to the hospital have decreased over the past few months, but nevertheless, new patients continue to visit the hospital. They questioned the necessity of using pellet guns when protests were ‘minimal’ and ‘situation under control as per police’.
On Wednesday also, at least 15 youth were injured when pellets were fired at Sopore while police and paramilitary personnel were conducting a search operation at Zaloora village in Sopore.
In the past four months, over 1150 youth, many of them teenagers and even minors were injured in eyes by pellet shots. These injuries, as per doctors, have caused grievous trauma that had resulted in victims losing their vision. Many of the victims are females.
At least 54 people have been hit in both eyes with pellets while more than 20 people have completely lost eye contents due to injury.