Srinagar, ( Zehru Nissa): A 60-year-old man was among the seven people who suffered injuries in their eyes due to pellet ammunition fired by the government forces in the past 24 hours during protests in Pulwama and Sopore areas.
Ghulam Mohammad Mir, a farmer, suffered pellet injuries in both eyes at Sopore.
Mir lies on his bed, calm, yet alert, as if trying to make sense of the sounds in the ward. Both his eyes are bandaged.
Doctors said pellets have made holes in his eyes and such injuries have been seen to cause vision loss in the victims.
“These injuries are serious,” a senior ophthalmologist at the SMHS Hospital said.
Mir, his son Showkat Ahmed said, was injured in the morning when the local residents approached the government forces to demand the body of the two militants who had been killed in a gunfight at Pazalpora area of Sopore a few hours earlier.
One of the militants belonged to Mir’s area, Showkat said.
“Elders were in the first row of procession that was demanding the body and we never thought they will fire at elders too,” Showkat said.
“What was the fault of my father? Neither him nor anyone else pelted stones that time. There were just slogans. Nothing more,” he said.
Besides Mir, two more persons suffered pellet injuries in Sopore and four others in Kakapora, Pulwama district. All have been admitted to the SMHS Hospital for specialised treatment.
Doctors said the degree of blindness caused by pellets varies from person to person and depends on the area of the eye that has been hit.
“If the pellets have injured a vital visual area, such as retina or macula there are very bleak chances of the person getting his vision back,” an eye surgeon at SMHS Hospital said.
On Thursday, four youths from Kakapora in Pulwama district were admitted to the SMHS Hospital.
“We continue to admit people with eye injuries caused by pellets. These injuries cause blindness,” doctors at the hospital said.
Since July 2016, when widespread protests took over Kashmir following killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani, more than 1000 people have been treated for pellet injuries in eye(s) at the SMHS Hospital. Of these, 66 had been hit in both eyes while in 20 cases one eye of each victim had been removed because of the severity of injuries.