Sarore survivor says police, mobs unleashed hell on Gujjars

Young Farman Ali of Sarore area of Samba district believes God has bestowed him with a new life. Lying on a bed in the emergency ward of SMHS Hospital in Srinagar, 16-year-old Ali had a miraculous escape when police men from Bari Brahmna police station fired at Gujjars on February 22.
Sarore survivor says police, mobs unleashed hell on Gujjars
Young Farman Ali of Sarore area of Samba district believes God has bestowed him with a new life. Lying on a bed in the emergency ward of SMHS Hospital in Srinagar, 16-year-old Ali had a miraculous escape when police men from Bari Brahmna police station fired at Gujjars on February 22.

"I was cutting grass at the nearby field adjacent to bus stand Sarore, and all of a sudden I saw many homes up in flames including my house. As I tried to rush towards home along with my father, policemen fired tear gas shells and bullets at us," says Farman. "I saw at least four to five people falling down. A bullet hit me as well, and I too fell."

A bullet has pierced through his left shoulder. "Allah saved me. I feel like I am born again," says Farman. "It was like hell. The firing was totally unprovoked. Lying on ground, I saw policemen along with many locals beating Muslims including my father. My father's arm has three fractures."

Farman says, "There seems to be a deep rooted conspiracy in the firing incident in Sarore. I think the local MLA, Chander Prakash Ganga of BJP, doesn't want Muslims to live in Sarore. There are at least 50 families of Muslims in the area." 

Ganga's residence is near the place where the incident occurred.

Farman says despite getting hit by a bullet, he saw women and girls being bundled into police vehicles. "They took them to police station Bari Brahmna as if they were guilty of big crime," he says. "The police and mob ransacked our belongings before torching our homes."

A group of three women somehow dragged Farman and managed to get him admitted in Government Medical College (GMC) Jammu. "My father Bashir Ahmed was also admitted there for serious fractures. Doctors at the GMC sought the thumb impressions of me and my father and asked us to agree that we won't register a complaint. This was a pre-condition for treatment," alleges Farman. "The doctors told us that they won't treat us unless we give our thumb impressions."

According to doctors at the SMHS treating the boy, a bullet has pierced through his left shoulder and the wound would take some time to heal. "He is however in trauma and needs proper care and observation," a doctor says. 

After hearing about the injured, Independent legislator Langate, Engineer Abdur Rashid, visited GMC Jammu and provided all the facilities and money to ensure Farman is airlifted to SMHS hospital Srinagar. 

"I am bearing all the expenses of the treatment of this boy. See how he is writhing in pain. I managed to airlift him from GMC Jammu, where he was left to die," says Rashid. One person was killed and at least 12 injured in the police firing in Sarore on Feb 22.

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