Blinded by pellet guns, victims reveal horror tales

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Srinagar, July 14:  Wounded in pellet firing by security forces in his native Kral Pora area of frontier Kupwara, 27-year-old Parvaiz Ahmed Mir, a laborer by profession, has just undergone a surgery at SMHS Hospital here. Blindfolded in bandages, he patiently listens to the ugliest news of his life.

“We are sorry dear. We had to remove your right eye as it was badly damaged by pellets. We pray that your other eye is safe,” the doctors reveal, as the patient takes a deep breath.

“This means my life is changed forever… How will I be able to do hard work and feed my family,” said Mir, the lone bread earner for his family, including wife and two small kids.

On July 13, at around 3:30 PM, Mir was sitting at his home, when he said a team of police and CRPF stormed their village. The forces, as per his attendants from the village, unleashed a reign of terror by showering pellets on the villagers.

The last scene, Mir remembers is cops aiming pellet gun on him. Before he would react, his face was maimed by the tiny pellets. Crying in pain, the young man had fallen unconscious only to be removed to SMHS Hospital.

The other attendants at Ward 8 rush to his bed to console the young man, who lost his eye. “Don’t worry dear Allah is with you, just look at the other boy, he too has suffered pellet injuries in his eyes,” the attendants said while pointing towards a teenager at the corner bed.

“How can I see?” Mir whispers leaving everyone in tears. This teenager is Aamir of Palhalan, Pattan. A class 11th student, Aamir was at his home, when police and CRPF arrived in the village and opened unprovoked pellet fire and teargas shelling.

Witnesses said the incident took place on July 13 at around 1:00 PM when police and paramilitary party arrived in the Shah Mohalla village and rushed towards a group of women.

“They wanted to trap us. But one of the village girls started resisting their advances and shouted. She was hit with the teargas on her leg,” the woman said adding the brave girl suffered a major cut on her leg. “She had to undergo over 20 stitches,” the witnesses said.

The victims said as women intensified their protests, the security personnel trained their guns towards the youth. “Before I could realize anything pellets were fired instantly on my face,” Aamir says adding it was like suffering electric shock right in the eyes.

As one interacts with the boy, another patient on the next bed, a class 5th student, Abnu Muzzain interrupts.  “You press people come here to listen to our woes but don’t report it. Please don’t do this again, Kashmir is burning,” the small boy said only to add that his native Palhalan has been the worst sufferer.

“Yes he’s speaking truth,” adds Kulsum, a college girl who happens to be one of the attendants.  She said ferrying wounded to the hospital was so risky that most of them were dumped back in the village.

“We only brought to hospital the patients who had eye injuries. The others we tried to treat ourselves,” Kulsom said.

She said before rushing to Srinagar, she treated around one dozen victims back home.  “My mother had suffered three pellets on her shoulder, I removed them myself with needle fearing that brining her to Srinagar would be difficult.”

The victims and their families said the police and other forces were hindering movement of patients to hospitals. “We had to rush in the wounded through lengthy inner road links because police was present on the main roads ready to stop us, beat us,” the victims said.

There are around half a dozen eye injury patients from Palhalan and Kupwara areas admitted in the ward, all feared to lose eyesight, while government is yet to give any version over the alleged rights abuse.

The Mehbooba Mufti-led government has come under severe criticism over excessive use of force during street protests in Kashmir that left atleast 37 dead and over 1300 wounded in the aftermath of killing of militant commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani.

In the meantime, an emotionally charged woman said north Kashmir was suffering the worst to be countered by a man from south Kashmir who said Anantnag was biggest victim.

An old man from old Srinagar, who had to come to lend a helping hand at the hospital, was listening to the conversation. He interrupted to add: entire Kashmir is suffering.

In meantime some cries were heard. Two fresh cases of pellet gun injury were rushed in. This time both were from Chota Bazar area of Srinagar.

As bystanders rushed to get updates, Parvaiz Ahmed Mir of Kupwara lied silently on his bed. He is being attended by his cousins.  “His kids are toddlers and thus their mother couldn’t leave them alone,” the attendants said.

The mobile communication breakdown has left the family back home unaware of tragedy. Mir’s wife is yet to know, her husband has lost his eyesight!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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