50-year-old Shopian woman, 2 others suffer eye pellet injuries
Government forces fired pellet ammunition into protesters, injuring three, a 50-year-old woman, Sara Begum of Shopian, among them, during protests that marked the first death anniversary of iconic militant commander Burhan Wani on Saturday.
The injured are being treated at the SMHS hospital for treatment. Sara from Rishi Mohalla of Shopian has injuries in her right eye.
Her neighbours who attended to her at the hospital said the government forces made several rounds of their locality in their vehicles since morning. They said that several women requested the forces to leave as they feared their presence might trigger clashes.
"Rather than leaving the forces felt offended by the women's plea and ransacked their homes. They also fired pellets at them," said Rashid Ahmed, an attendant. Seven women were injured. Except for Sara, the other women were treated at a local hospital in Shopian.
"They shot at the women even when there were no protests and all these ladies were trying to do was to prevent any violent incident," he said.
Doctors treating Sara said her eye had been perforated by pellets and she would require surgeries to prevent vision loss. "We have sealed the wound, rest only time will tell," a surgeon at the SMHS Hospital said.
The other two persons who were provided preliminary treatment for pellet injuries in their eyes are Umer Ahmed, 16, from Chanapora area of Srinagar and Muhammad Shafi, 25, from Mehjoor Nagar Srinagar. Shafi also has injuries in the head and chest. Doctors said they were evaluating the injuries of the duo when the last reports came in.
During the past one year, 1045 people have suffered pellet injuries. Of these, 70 have injuries in both eyes.
"There has never been a bigger catastrophe in history where eyes of more than a thousand people have been blinded due to a manmade cause," a senior surgeon at the Hospital said.
The doctor expressed anguish that even the debates about this weapon touted as "non-lethal" have died down silently. "Pellet injuries and the blindness they cause is becoming a new norm in Kashmir. Have we accepted it?" the surgeon asked.
He expressed concern over silence of the government and civil society about thousands of lives turned dark by the pellet horror.