Teenager injured last year succumbs
Father Sold Auto, Shop To Save His Only Son
Srinagar Nov 12: There is complete silence in this rickety house of Arif Ahmad Bhat, who succumbed to his injuries on Thursday evening at Chinkral Mohalla Habbakadal in Srinagar.
“Our tears have dried up,” Arif father, Javid Ahmad Bhat said. “We have been wailing for our son for past one year. He remained on bed like a corpse. He never talked, neither ate. It has been the period of helplessness, of tears and a struggle of survival for the family.”
Arif was 13 and got injured after he was hit by a police tear gas canister on his head a year before in the Shopian agitation. From then onwards, he remained in coma till he breathed his last in his house located deep in the congested locality of old city.
Standing barefoot on a cold cemented patio of his house, Bhat told Greater Kashmir that it was the evening of October 25, 2009, that a tear gas canister aimed at protesters hit Arif as he was going for tuitions in nearby Basant Bagh locality.
“There were mild clashes in Maisuma locality. The police men shot a tear shell on the protesters, but it pierced the head of my son at Basant Bagh,” Bhat said, adding, “My son was a student and was reading in 6th class.”
Wistfully recounting the past, the grieved father said Arif went into coma and was shifted in post operative ward of SKIMS. “He underwent four surgeries in the hospital,” Bhat said. As the illness of Arif prolonged, the cost of treating him drained the already poor family. Bhat, a driver by profession, sold his auto-rickshaw, the only earning source for the family.
“I had to meet the expenses of drugs and antibiotics,” Bhat said. “I first sold my auto-rickshaw for Rs 1 lakh, then my shop and later some relatives helped me.”
The total expenditure on medicines and treatment cost the poor family Rs 8 lakhs.
“I was jobless. I remained engaged with the treatment of my son,” Bhat said. “It was my father Muhammad Sultan, a 76-year old frail man, who earned for the family by doing labour.”
“The only thing which kept us going was the hope that Arif would recover,” he added.
The family also criticized the government that no free medical aid was provided to their injured son.
“In March, Speaker Assembly, Akbar Lone, promised to give free medical aid,” Bhat said, adding, “But nothing of that sort was allotted to us.”
Bhat said even hospital authorities did not give them medicines and CT scans free of cost.
“They always said medicines were out of stock,” he said.
It was after seven long months that doctors discharged Arif from the hospital.
“He never came out of coma. We brought him home and looked after him here,” he said.
During the seven months in hospital, the family of four had to attend their ward by rotation.
“Those were really cruel times. I never left. We rotated the shift between Arif’s mother and his grandfather. His sister Bismah was too young to attend her brother.”
“During his stay at home, Arif developed bed sore and gangrene,” Bhat said.
Finally, Arif breathed his last Thursday night at 10:30 pm.
“He died silently,” Bhat said. “He took two hiccups and left for the eternal world.”
Lastupdate on : Fri, 12 Nov 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 12 Nov 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 13 Nov 2010 00:00:00 IST
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