18-yr-old Kupwara student loses eye to pellet attack

On July 29, 18-year old student from Gundchabootra village in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, Shafqat, became another victim of deadly pellet firing by security forces which completely damaged his right eye.
18-yr-old Kupwara student loses eye to pellet attack
GK Photo

On July 29, 18-year old student from Gundchabootra village in north Kashmir's Kupwara district, Shafqat, became another victim of deadly pellet firing by security forces which completely damaged his right eye.

"It was Friday and people from all adjoining villages had decided to march towards Kralgund village. After Friday prayers, I went out to look for my brother as I didn't see him at home," recalls Shafqat.

Shafqat reached Kralgund village were protestors had dispersed and people were leaving for their homes. He couldn't locate his brother.

Shafqat said as he was on way back home through an orchard, paramilitary troops came and showered pellets on him without any provocation.

"After being hit with pellets in my right eye, I ran away but they threw a bamboo stick which hit my forehead and hurt my left eye as well," says Shafqat.

"I came to know that Shafqat had been hit by pellets. With complete communication gag, rumors about his death were making rounds in our village. I rushed to the hospital to look for him," said Akhtar Shafi, elder brother of Shafqat.

Shafqat was shifted to Primary Health Centre Kralgund where from he was shifted to SMHS Hospital Srinagar.

"After one week of treatment doctors lost all hope and discharged me from hospital. I was shattered and at that moment, I wanted to die. I don't want to become a lifetime liability for my family," said Shafqat.

"What hurts me is why forces made me a target if I was not part of any protests. I have never pelted stones nor joined protests. I was dreaming about my future outside state after qualifying my class 12 exams this year."

Shafqat's family also went to Amritsar for his treatment, however returned disappointed after doctors declared that the eye was completely damaged.

Besides being good at studies, Shafqat was also a good cricketer. "Earlier I used to spent time in cricket ground, but now I don't go there because it hurts me from inside," Shafqat said.

His mother Haseena Begum visits shrines and prays for recovery of Shafqat's vision. "I had asked the doctors that I will give my eye to my son but doctors didn't agree," said Haseena.

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