Srinagar: Although the CRPF had claimed that after fitting pellet guns with deflectors, damage to sensitive organs of protesters will be minimised if not eliminated, 14 people suffered severe eye damage and critical injuries were caused to the lungs of another due to pellets fired by the forces on Friday.
Kamran Bhat, 22, a resident of Drangbal Pampore became the 67th person whose both eyes have been damaged by pellets during protests since last July.
“Pellets have damaged both his eyes badly. There is bleak chance of vision restoration in his left eye,” an Ophthalmologist at SMHS Hospital’s trauma theatre said.
Sahil Dar, 22, a resident of Yechgam, Budgam, has suffered pellet injuries in the chest, abdomen and forearms. Doctors who were in the process of assessing the extent of damage to his internal organs said he had hemorrhage and contusions in lungs.
“We are using a chest tube to drain out blood from his chest cavity,” a doctor said.
Ophthalmologists at the SMHS Hospital are used to the sight of pellet injured people, but what they find worrying is that this lethal ammunition continues to blind and critically injure protesters despite CRPF’s claims that the guns have been fitted with aluminum defectors, which prevent the scattering of pellets in every direction.
On Friday alone, till last reports, nine people with pellets in eye(s) and one with pellets in upper body were admitted at SMHS Hospital for specialized treatment. At the time of filing this report, injured persons were being brought from Kulgam and other southern districts of the Valley besides a few from Budgam and Srinagar.
Doctor’s said that during the past fortnight, since deflectors were introduced in the arsenal of the CRPF, more than 30 people have lost eye(s) to injuries caused by pellet guns.
“What use are deflectors if they are not able to save eyes,” a doctor at SMHS Hospital said.
One of the injured was a 14 year old boy from Anantnag, hit in both eyes by pellets. The teenager, doctors said, has already been operated upon twice.
Doctors have repeatedly said that prognosis of pellet injuries is bad.
Since July 2016, when widespread protests took over Kashmir following killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani, over 1000 people have been treated for pellet injuries in eye(s) at SMHS Hospital. Of these, 66 had been hit in both eyes while in 20 cases the victims had totally lost one eye due to the injury.