Rainawari teenager chases ‘braid choppers’, gets pellets

Constructing a new house was like a dream come true for Wahid. He would work with the masons and labourers throughout the day just to feel contended. His family was feeling proud of the young lad for his dedication.

Abid Bashir
Srinagar, Publish Date: Oct 19 2017 11:01PM | Updated Date: Oct 20 2017 12:58PM
Rainawari teenager chases ‘braid choppers’, gets pelletsFile pic of Wahid Manzoor.

For 18-year-old Wahid Manzoor of Rainawari in Srinagar, chasing two braid choppers changed his entire life. He sustained serious pellet injuries on his body, including his right eye, when the police allegedly tried to disperse the youth who ran after the alleged braid-cutters on past Friday.

Constructing a new house was like a dream come true for Wahid. He would work with the masons and labourers throughout the day just to feel contended. His family was feeling proud of the young lad for his dedication.

Son of an auto-driver Manzoor Ahmed Bafanda, Wahid would work tirelessly to see his new home ready before winters.

On October 13, the wheel of fate catapulted for the Bafanda family. At general specialty SMHS hospital, doctors declared the right eye of Wahid as “dead” and suggested a surgery on it.

“My mother sits in a corner of a room and cries silently and my father is no different,” said Suhail Ahmad, the elder brother of Wahid.

He said that Wahid was near his under-construction house and all of a sudden he heard the noise that two braid choppers have entered the locality. “He went out and saw locals chasing two men. My brother also joined them and when they reached Gurpur-Khushki, where a Dal Lake artery separates two localities, policemen who were deployed on the other side, fired pellets at youth chasing the braid cutters,” Suhail said. “My brother sustained pellet injuries on his entire body and many metal balls hit his right eye.”

Suhail said that as blood oozed out from the pellet wounds inflicted on his brother, locals immediately rushed him to the SMHS hospital. “After treatment for six days, doctors declared his right eye as dead and suggested a surgery,” he said.

Locals at Gurpura-Khushki area of Rainawari supported Suhail’s claim that the two braid choppers who jumped into the Dal waters were saved by the policemen. “There was no stone pelting as women folk in the area was feeling terrified after two unknown persons were roaming around. When we chased them, they fled making all of suspicious that they were braid cutters,” said an elderly resident of Gurpura. He said that firing of pellets at the youth was unjustified.

The Bafanda family has now decided to leave for Amritsar, Punjab where they would go for Wahid’s surgery. “We have heard about best eye treatment at Amritsar. Let’s try our luck,” said Suhail.

Wahid, a class 11 student, is the first person to lose vision in the right eye while being part of a protest against braid chopping.

As Bafanda family sticks to their claim of pellets being fired by the policemen, the police, however, assert that there were no protests in Rainawari area last Friday.

“There is no record of any protest or pellets fired by policemen in any part of Rainawari last Friday,” superintendent of police (North Srinagar), Sajad Shah told Greater Kashmir. “Even there were no Friday prayers at the Jamia Masjid that week.”