‘I fell down as pellets hit my eye; they fired thrice at me’

Five days after he had a close shave with death, 17-year-old Jehangeer Rather is still in shock in Ward No 8 of general specialty SMHS hospital here.
‘I fell down as pellets hit my eye; they fired thrice at me’
GK Photo

Five days after he had a close shave with death, 17-year-old Jehangeer Rather is still in shock in Ward No 8 of general specialty SMHS hospital here.

"I felt like needles pierced my eye…then they fired thrice at me.  I was lucky the bullets hit on my left leg and not the vital organs," recalled Jehangeer who is battling pellet injuries in his left eye and bullet injuries in his left leg, at the hospital.

By the time the boy from far-off Lolab area in north Kashmir was rushed to the SMHS hospital, he had lost "almost all blood" and was "unconscious," his mother Zarifa Begum said.

"It is only by Allah's grace that my son is alive," she murmurs and removes the cotton sheet covering her son's leg. The entire leg has been bandaged.

However, for Jehangeer, the bullet injuries in the leg are "less of a worry". "I am more concerned about my eye," he sighs.

The class 11 student tells he hasn't been able to see anything with his left eye after it got injured due to the deadly pellets 

"There is no improvement in the eye-sight. Doctors have asked me to wait and have put me on medicines for some days before they take a decision on operating upon the injured eye," the young boy said. "I am worried. It should be alright,"

Dated for an eye-surgery next week, doctors on duty said Jehangeer was constantly disturbed by the thoughts of losing vision in the eye hit by two pellets. Apart from his eye, Jehangeer has also received pellets in his right leg.

Recalling the fateful day, Jehangeer said the police had asked the youth not to come out for Friday prayers—the 'diktat' that wasn't obeyed by the most in his village.

"They were not allowed to offer prayers in the local mosque, so they decided to go to the nearby village for prayers. They were coming back from Friday prayers when police started chasing them for no reason," Jehangeer's uncle said.

 "He was not part of any crowd when they cornered him and fired pellets and bullets on him," he said.

Jehangeer's father teaches at a local private school and his brother too is a private school teacher.

 "He (Jehangeer) would always talk about working hard on his studies to earn a well-paid job in the government sector. We are worried about his well-being now," said Zarifa Begum.

Doctors at SMHS Hospital said there were many injured who have bullet as well as pellet injuries.

"We saw many such patients here, battling multiple injuries. The trauma they undergo cannot be imagined," said a senior doctor.

The SMHS Hospital has admitted many injured persons with pellets in eyes as well as chest and abdomen.

"Pellets get scattered in multiple directions, causing multiple injuries," said the doctor.

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