Sarpanch survives life bid, left unattended at hospital
Srinagar, July 1: For 28-year-old Ishtiyaq Ahmad, it is agonizing to recall the tragic incident when gunmen showered bullets on him crippling both his legs.
Ishtiyaq, a young Sarpanch of village Shalidar in Keller area of district Shopian, was injured when unidentified gunmen opened fire at him after barging into his house on the evening of June 1 this year.
As he lies critically wounded in Bone and Joints Hospital here, Ishtiyaq is both shocked and relieved that he survived the deadly attack.
Ishtiyaq clearly remembers one thing: “Five gunmen wearing long gowns barged into my rented house and start firing indiscriminately. I tried to save myself by pushing the door against one of the gunmen. But, by then he had already fired several rounds into my legs.”
He was in his rented apartment at Vashroo, Shopian when four armed-unknown men came searching for him. As he approached the door, one of them opened fire, leaving him severely wounded, Ishtiyaq recalls.
“The bullet hit me in the right leg but went straight through. But my left leg was hit by multiple shots that left me sobbing in pain,” he said.
Startled by the sound of gunshots, he said, his neighbors raised alarm. However, the gunmen were able to flee from the place in the dark.
In the aftermath of the incident, he himself called the police and was immediately admitted in the District Hospital, Shopian, from where he was referred to Bone and Joints Hospital at Barzulla in Srinagar.
“The last thing I clearly remember is calling SHO Keller about the incident. After that everything went dark and I lost conscious,” he said.
The doctors said he had suffered two bullets in his left thigh, another in the right. His condition did not improve over the weekend, with “significant blood loss, some stress and continuous sleeping”.
“He has a deep around wound in his left leg that usually takes 3-4 months to heal. Then he needs careful skin grafting,” an on duty doctor told Greater Kashmir. An X-ray scan showed a fracture in the left femur.
“Previously he had infection also but it has gone after proper medication. But he needs a great care as his wounds are prone to infection,” the medicos, who are treating him in the hospital informed.
Ishtiyaq belongs to a humble background. He is now worried about the growing medical bills and the future threats to his life. “My father is a farmer who earns for the family of 8 including three daughters,” he said.
According to him he has spend around 50, 000 rupees on treatment so far out of which 30, 000 were borrowed from friends and relatives. “I received no compensation from the government,” he said.
Though, the party he belongs to showed some concern for him initially by visiting him and assuring financial support but nothing was delivered on ground.
“At the time of crisis, the support of my party would have relieved some amount of my pain. But they completely neglected me as I am left on my own,” Ahmad said.
Ishtiyaq said he had to pay for even a simple antibiotic from his own pocket. “Every other day I have to buy antiseptics (dressing solutions) and costly medicines that left me in debt,” he said.
A National Conference worker from the past five years, Ishtiyaq contested maiden Panchayat election in 2011 and got elected as a Sarpanch.
This was not Ishtiyaq’s first encounter with gunmen. He received a threat from the militant group, Hizbul Mujahideen in 2009.
He approached government authorities several times after the incident seeking personal security. However, nothing was done by the government in this regard, he alleged.
Ahmad said things didn’t stop there, after winning the Sarpanch election he received another threat, warning him of leaving his Sarpanch seat.
“It was mentioned in the letter that if I will not resign from post of Sarpanch they will kill me, but no personal security was provided to me him after that even after informing ADGP,” he alleged.
Even today, as a critically injured patient under militant threat, Ishtiyaq lies completely unprotected in the hospital.
“Four years ago I didn’t have any personal security from the government either. This time, I am lying on this hospital bed for last one month for the same reason,” said Ishtiyaq.
After his attack, many Panchs of his village and other nearby villages are thinking of resigning from their posts. Ishtiyaq, however, strongly believes that he will not get suppressed by such threats and will continue work for the people as a Sarpanch.
Police says all the four accused involved in the attack have been identified and they have launched the manhunt to nab them. But, as of today, none of them has been apprehended.
Meanwhile, State President Akhil Bharati Gujjar Mahasabha, Jammu and Kashmi, Ishfaq-ul-Rehman Poswal, who is helping him out at hospital, has expressed deep anguish over the callous approach of state government in protecting the political workers including Panchs and Sarpachs.
“We demand development of democratic setup but I think state government is not serious in doing. Their callous attitude forced many Panchs and Sarpanchs to resign,” said Poswal.
He has also sent a letter to Union Minister for Home Affairs and J&K Governor, NN Vohra last month apprising them about the “plight” of the elected representatives of Panchayats in the state.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 1 Jul 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 1 Jul 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 2 Jul 2012 00:00:00 IST
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