POLL DAY HORROR: 12-yr old battles bullet, pellet injuries; 35-yr old critical; 21 pellet victims may lose eyesight

Horror is writ on face of every victim who was injured in security forces’ action on Sunday and undergoing treatment at different hospitals here.
POLL DAY HORROR: 12-yr old battles bullet, pellet injuries; 35-yr old critical; 21 pellet victims may lose eyesight
GK Photo

Horror is writ on face of every victim who was injured in security forces' action on Sunday and undergoing treatment at different hospitals here. At Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) here, 12-year old Adnan Lateef is battling for life. Hit by bullet in chest and pellets in abdomen, Adnan, a resident of Habak Srinagar, was bleeding profusely from inside when he was rushed to hospital. "It was a doomsday for us. It just rained pellets and bullets," relatives of Adnan recall outside the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the institute.

Another injured, Shakoor Ahmad of Rajouri, who was brought to SKIMS with head injuries, continues to be in "critical condition." "He has multiple fractures in his head. His condition is bad," said the doctors.

The scene is no different at SMHS hospital. A young boy from Beerwah, aged 12, who was hit by pellets in his left eye refuses to speak. The injury has left his family shocked. "What was his fault? Our house is on the roadside. Is that what gave them the right to fire on my son?" Shama Begum, his aunt asks. In a shock, the class 6 student does not answer any query by doctors or attendants. As per his family, security forces, as they retreated from polling booths, fired indiscriminately leaving their son injured and battling for vision in his eye. "He is traumatized," an Ophthalmologist says after examining his eyes.

A few beds next to the young boy is a 26 year old shopkeeper from Shoolipora Budgam. His uncle, who attends to him, looks distraught. "He is the only brother of four who earned for the entire family. But doctors are saying his eye is in bad condition," he says while describing that three pellets have entered his eye and caused "total damage".

Asked how his nephew was injured, he says "They (forces) moved in a circle. Kept firing on both sides and my son was hit while he was inside the house as he peeped out."

In Ward 8 of SMHS Hospital, bed after bed, pellet hit teenagers are nursing their injuries. As per hospital records, 21 people with pellet injuries in eyes have been admitted in the past 24 hours. The scene is reminiscent of many months of 2016, when 30 civilians on an average were fired by pellets in eyes by security forces each day.

In Ward 12, 16 year old Afaan (name changed on request) from Nowhatta fiddles with the chest tube that drains blood and fluid from his bullet-hit chest. Afaan has lung contusions due to bullet injury. In the same ward, an elderly relative of his, Haji Abdul Ahad is admitted. His relatives hop between the beds. While Afaan was injured Sunday evening amidst protests in Nowhatta, Ahad was admitted with "severe breathlessness caused by indiscriminate pepper gas firing" on Friday. "In downtown areas, we are hostages every Friday," a cousin of Afaan says. "This Sunday, we almost lost Afaan to the horror," he adds.

In the same ward, 21 year old Guftar Ahmed is admitted and doctors are yet to take a decision on when to operate upon him. With "an entire pellet cartridge, along with the shell in his chest and abdomen", he is being monitored. "We thought he was hit by a bullet. It is here that we came to know he was fired upon with pellets," his family says. "He told us they (security forces) put the pellet gun on his body and fired," doctors say.

In an adjacent ward 16, another injured Mohammad Hussain (name changed on request), B Com student from HMT area of Srinagar, gets blood transfusion. As per the hospital records, Hussain had been hit by a bullet in his left thigh at 3 pm yesterday. He reached SMHS Hospital at 7:30 pm. The delay in reaching the health facility was caused by "police following us," his friends say. "They followed us everywhere, even to hospitals, in civvies, and then caught some of us. We had to struggle a lot to reach hospital," a young man accompanying Hussain says.

As per hospital records, on Sunday, when Srinagar Parliamentary Constituency went to polls, two people lost lives to pellet injuries, many were left with life threatening injuries by pellets and bullets and at least 21 are struggling with vision impairing eye injuries in Srinagar hospitals. This is in addition to the eight civilians killed when security forces used live ammunition on protesters on Sunday in central Kashmir.

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