Srinagar: Ambulance siren alerts a bunch of volunteers at the SMHS Hospital. They rush to receive the injured and immediately rush them to emergency ward on the first floor of the hospital.
Women attendants of patients wail and the elderly pray for the recovery of the injured persons. Angry youths shout pro-freedom slogans. Policemen and CID officials in civvies get to work. Volunteers and people in general are suspicious of anyone who inquires about the injured.
In such a tense atmosphere, the selfless services of volunteers from various parts of Srinagar offer hope.
They have set up a stall where they offer refreshments to people accompanying volunteers.
“Something stirred inside me that drove me to the hospital. I somehow made it here despite curfew. I have witnessed such scenes on television, and it feels like Gaza and Syria, and the presence of troops inside the hospital makes it more worrisome,” said Irfan Ali, a volunteer.
Apart from the selflessness of the volunteers, remarkably visible at the hospital is the spirit of the people whose kin have been maimed by the government forces.
Lying on a stretcher, Danish, a 13-year-old teenager, shivers as doctors try to check his pulse.
His mother, who was carrying Danish’s slipper in her hands, cries, “Danish saeba yi kiho gov, Danish saeba kath karta, my dear Danish what has happened to you, please talk to me.”
As soon as the shivering stops, the doctors ask the people to take the body to the operation theatre.
While Danish was being operated upon, men and women gathered around his mother and started consoling her.
“Do not worry, God will help him, God is with the oppressed,” Fatima Jan, an elderly woman told the mother.
Danish was hit by a splinter on his head fired by armed forces when he was at his home. Doctors operating on him called the case very critical and said only a miracle could save him.
Some people couldn’t control emotions as they saw their beloved ones disappear into operation theatres. Others reacted differently.
Fareeda, who was accompanying her injured son, said, “It is high time for Azadi, how many more will they kill, how much more blood we have to sacrifice, if not now then never, everybody should come out and protest, enough is enough they are trying to wipe out Kashmiris.”
Altaf Ahmad Shah accompanying his 13-year-old son who was hit by pellets while playing cricket at Wathora asked his son not to sulk while talking to this reporter.
“Zinda dil rouzu, ma rouz murda, aemi khota qurbani chi din, be strong hearted, do not sulk, we are ready to give more sacrifices,” he told his son.
Altaf later said that he was proud of his son, as he was being part of the larger Azadi movement.
Another patient hailing from Burhan’s hometown Tral who was hit by pellet bullets while on his way to buy medicines, resulting in injuries to his eyes, face and arms said that nothing could hamper his “passion for freedom from Indian occupation” and that he was not worried about losing his eyesight.
“I am determined to not lose hope, once my eye is treated I will pick out the pellets with needles at home on my own, things like these won’t deter my sentiment for Azadi,” said Zubair, who was accompanied by nine of his local friends.
Not only the injured and their attendants but even ‘normal’ inmates of the hospital showed similar sentiment.
Fatima Jan, 54, a resident of Srinagar who attending to her 19-year-old daughter said, “Seeing children as young as 12 drenched in blood is nothing compared to my daughter’s illness. How can these blood suckers kill such kids.”