On Friday evening, as he was returning home from the marriage ceremony of a relative, Dawood Ahmed had dreams of his marriage in his eyes. A few moments later, pellets replaced everything in his eyes.
In Ward 7 of SMHS Hospital, 22 year old Dawood from Kawdara Srinagar is surrounded by friends and relatives. Outside the Ward, a group of women, who were to become his relatives, sit, condoling his family. All set to get engaged after Eid, Dawood's would-be-in-laws have all rushed to the hospital after hearing the news of his injury.
Many of them see him for the first time, with his both eyes hit by pellets.
Dawood was to get engaged but the ceremony had been postponed due to prevailing situation. The event had now been scheduled for late September, after Eid-ul-Adha.
His father runs after a doctor, asking questions about his treatment. Doctors pacify him, tell him they would do their best, and ask him to pray.
When Greater Kashmir asked about the condition of Dawood's eyes, an eye surgeon shook his head in dismay. "Both his eyes are badly damaged," he said. "We have done the preliminary surgery, but cannot comment at this stage. The injuries are severe," he added.
Doctors Friday night carried out primary, emergency repair of Dawood's right eye.
His family alleged that security forces target-fired at him. "A relative's marriage at Nawa Kadal had commenced and he was returning from there, along with a few friends. Forces fired at them," his father says. "He was not in a protest. This was not accidental. He was just fired at," he adds.
On the bed opposite to Dawood's, Suhail Farooq from south Kashmir's Kulgam district curses his fate. "I received pellets in my back and ran for my life," he says. "At one point, I stopped and turned to see if they (forces) were still chasing me," he goes on. It was then, Suhail says, that pellets fired by the forces hit his left eye. "If only I had not turned back," he says.
This 25 year old Salesman from Bugam village was preparing to participate in an Ijtima (public meeting) at Higher Secondary School Bugam Saturday morning around 08:30 a.m. "To foil the gathering, they fired shells and pellets, like rain," he says. "His eye is badly damaged," doctors said.
When Suhail received pellets in his eye, another 25 year old from his village was hit by a teargas canister on his head.
Mudasir Ahmed Bhat, doctors said, has lost his left eye to the injury, his face bones and nose fractured too.
"If the shell has broken his bones, you can imagine what it will do to his eye," Ophthalmologists said.
A postgraduate in Physical Education, Mudasir had prepared hard to get a job as a fitness trainer, his friends said.
"What will he do now," they asked.
Ward 07, 8 and 9 of SMHS Hospital have once more been flooded by youth with eyes injured by pellets. Hospital authorities said 30 people with injuries to eyes due to pellets had been brought to hospital in 24 hours since Friday afternoon. In the past four days, two youth have lost both eyes to pellets.