SRINAGAR: Ward 17, a surgical Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in SMHS hospital in Srinagar is overwhelmed by patients from different parts of valley injured by firing by armed forces during past five days. The hospital room resonates with moans of injured people recuperating on the beds. While the younger ones call their parents when in unbearable pain, others are lying patiently bearing the pain inflicted by men in Khaki. Some are lying lifeless as they are in coma.
Isha Mushtaq, a 17 year old girl admitted in Ward 17 is in coma from past two days.
“On Tuesday evening when protesters were marching towards Sedan in Shopian against the killing of Burhan Wani, forces resorted to indiscriminate firing. Isha was looking out through a window of her house when she was targeted and a pellet hit her head. She fell down on the floor, unconscious and blood ridden. We took her to the nearest hospital, but she was referred to SMHS. Doctors told us that she has lost both of her eyes and can never see again,” said Vakil Ahmad, Isha’s cousin.
Doctor Sajjad Khanday, who is looking after Isha, said she has lost sight as pellets have pierced both her eyes. “We will try our best to get some of her vision back in another operation, but it is difficult to say if we will succeed as her eyes have suffered serious damage,” he said.
Another female victim in this ward is also in coma.
Shamima, 24, was watching a protest in Arwani in Bijbhera on Saturday, when she was hit by a bullet in abdomen, leading to excessive blood loss. She remained unattended for hours when some people reached her. Her relative, who refused to be named fearing the police profiling, said that she was watching protests from a long distance. “There were no chances of being hit. Police deliberately targeted her and bullets pierced her abdomen. It took us a while to get near her as police was not allowing the wounded to be taken care of. She is still in coma and we don’t know if she would survive,” he said.
Another victim of bullet injury in this ward is a shopkeeper Manzoor Ahmad Bhat, 45, who had gone to meet relatives on Tuesday at about 7:30 pm in Doni Pawa in Anantnag. “When he was coming back home, he was caught up in a protest. He received many blows from gun butts on his head. As he felt the ground in a lifeless state, people were not allowed to go near him. From 7:30 pm to 9 pm, he was there on the ground. When the forces left, a person rushed in an ambulance to Srinagar. At SMHS he was left outside the ICU ward. People raised slogans and left him there. There was no kin with him. Up to 2.00 am, no one attended to him as doctors were looking for his identity and relatives to fill the form so that he can be operated upon. When we heard that he has been taken to hospital, we rushed to Srinagar and found him in SMHS lying on the floor,” said Abdul Salam Bhat, brother of injured.
A young boy in the ward is in unbearable pain.
Amir, 16, studying in class 10, was part of a peaceful protest march in Nihama, Kulgam to show support for Burhan Wani. Police resorted to firing, killing three protesters on the spot, while Amir received a bullet in his head.
“We took him in an ambulance to Srinagar. At Chawalgam, Army stopped the ambulance, beating all of us including the injured Amir. After we were let go, CRPF stationed in Sangam stopped us again and beat us with sticks and gun butts. It worsened Amir’s condition. We somehow reached SMHS. The doctors here are doing their best to keep save him,” said a relative of Amir, who refused to be named.
Amir’s another brother Zubair, 18, was also in the protest that day, and bullet had hit his abdomen. While the people ran for cover, Zubair ran towards the hospital, blood oozing out and half of his body paralyzed. He was taken to Hospital in Srinagar, and is now in a stable condition.
Doctor Sajad Khanday while talking to Kashmir Reader said that there are more than 130 eye injury cases and 90 have been operated upon. “Most of them have impaired vision and they are unlikely to get their vision back,” he said.
He further said that SMHS has all the necessary treatment facilities and patients need not to go out of state for treatment which will cost a fortune. He however said that most of the patients are not coming back to the hospital for further treatment fearing police profiling. “We are taking all the necessary measures to convince patients injured in protests to come back for further treatment,” he said.