Day after CM’s promise, Govt’s ‘clarification’

Only 6 youth ‘fully blinded by pellets’ to get jobs

Muddasir Ali
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jan 10 2017 11:44PM | Updated Date: Jan 10 2017 11:44PM
Day after CM’s promise, Govt’s ‘clarification’File Photo

A day after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti announced jobs to the youth blinded by security forces’ pellets, the Government on Tuesday said that only “six youth who have lost total vision” would get jobs while other pellet victims would get “assistance depending upon the severity of the injury.”

“There are six youth who have lost total vision in both eyes. Our priority will be to sponsor their education in best schools like the one in Dehradun and then they will be provided job support as well,” Cabinet spokesman and senior Minister Naem Akhtar told Greater Kashmir. He was responding to a question on whether the Government has carried out an exercise to find out total number of youth blinded by pellets and those who would get jobs.

Asked as per medical records dozens of youth had their both eyes ruptured by pellets and many of the victims had their vision limited to “just shades and forms of objects,” the Minister said they were youth with (visual) impairment.

“The Chief Minister has said that depending upon the severity of the injury, decisions will be taken on providing any kind of assistance to them. It will be decided on case to case basis,” said the Minister.

The six victims, who as per records at SMHS Hospital have totally lost the vision in both eyes, are 14-year old Insha Mushtaq from Shopian, 22-year old Danish Rajab from Srinagar, Abdul Ahad Bhat from Kupwara, Adil Ahmad from Anantnag, Shahid Ahmad from Pulwama and Firdous Ahmad Dar from Sopore.

Minister of State for Health, Aasia Naqash, too said only six youth would be provided the jobs “to begin with.”

“A policy has been announced. There are set rules and regulations within the government under which a person can be provided a job. The parameters are defined and accordingly the decision will be taken,” she said.    

There are more than 1150 persons including youth and minors who have been hit by pellets in one or both eyes. According to hospital records, 50 pellet victims have completely lost their one eye while an equal number of victims has their both eyes ruptured by pellets.

“There are another 150 victims who have only perception of light,” said a senior doctor at SMHS’s Ophthalmology Department.

On Monday when the Chief Minister announced the jobs for the pellet-blinded youth, the doctors at SMHS hospital, who have been treating the victims for past six months, urged the Government to rehabilitate all the pellet victims, saying that most of them have been rendered handicapped for life.

The hospital has already sent a list of 850 pellet victims, who have varying degree of visual impairment, to the government. While many of them are “legally blind”, others have vision restricted to “forms of objects and hand movements in front of eyes.”

Already doctors have expressed concerns about around 300 pellet victims who haven’t shown much progress despite treatment for past five to six months.