Ninth class student Insha Malik has lost vision in her left eye that was pierced by pellets fired by forces, and doctors say there are “zero chances” of the teenager regaining vision in her right eye, also badly damaged by the pellets.
14-year old Insha, one of more than 100 pellet victims, is lying unconscious in the Surgical ICU of general specialty SMHS hospital here. Her face and neck resemble a wire-mesh with dozens of holes made by pellets therein.
“The pellets have ruptured her right eye and it has come out. The left eye is lacerated with zero chance of recovery,” said a doctor attending to her. Insha hails from Sedow village of south Kashmir’s Shopian.
The doctor added: “She does not even have perception of light in the eye that she is left with.”
According to her relatives, Insha was in the first floor of her house when forces fired pellets inside their house late on Tuesday evening. “She screamed and fell unconscious and within no time her face was swollen,” recalled one of her relatives, adding: “There were no protests going on in the area.”
Insha was rushed to the hospital late in the night where doctors took her straight to the ICU.
She is being continuously monitored since. “We haven’t admitted such a severe case in the hospital so far. The pellets have completely disfigured her face and resulted in multiple fractures and injuries in her face and skull,” said the doctor quoted above. “She is lucky that the pellets did not pierce her vessel on the neck or the airway.”
Apart from the loss of vision, pellets have resulted in fracture to her frontal bone (forehead) and nasal bone, apart from fracture to her maxillary bone.
“There are numerous pellets inside her skull and at the base of her brain. These fractures have caused pneumocephalus (a condition where air enters into the brain cavity),” said another doctor.
“We are ensuring that her condition remains stable. There is no treatment which can get her vision back in her eyes given the damage caused by the pellets. The pellets will remain inside her face and skull. Her fracture will heal up but the damage is done.”
Her mother sobs quietly by the side of her ICU bed as if not to wake her up. Her daughter wanted to become a doctor and was studying hard, she said.
“She used to say she will have no time to play next year when she would be in Class 10th,” a relative of her said.
Insha, her relatives said, was an inspiration for her two younger brothers. “She was a perfect sister, a perfect daughter,” her mother said, and broke down.
Sources at the hospital said there was ‘pressure from government’ to shift the injured teenager outside J&K for treatment but doctors have refused to do so.
While Principal GMC Srinagar refused to comment on this ‘pressure’, he said the hospital was doing what was best for the patient. “Even if there was an iota of hope that there was something out there that is not being done here, we would have shifted her,” he said while rushing into the ICU.
Doctors treating Insha said her condition was not stable and even the air-ambulance that was being offered for her could put her life at stake.
“Her life has been devastated. Nothing can make her see the world again,” they said.
Though the Government has described the pellets as “non-lethal”, Altaf Ahmed from Rajpora lost his life to pellets on July 10, 2016. His head had received a shower of pellets at Rajpora.
“Pellets had shattered his entire brain,” a doctor who had received him in SMHS Hospital casualty said.