By Ubeer Naqushbandi
Srinagar: “I will throw stones again at (government) forces. What if they have damaged my right hand; I will throw stones with my left hand. My wife is pregnant for four months. If Allah blesses me with a son, I will make him a fighter so that he stops zulm (atrocities) of forces.”
These are the words of Bilal Ahmed Ganaie, aged 18 years, resident of Ajas village in Bandipora district. “His hand may likely be amputated,” says a doctor at SKIMS of his right hand.
The eyes of Bilal Ganie, a fair-complexioned boy with one front tooth (incisor) broken, show extreme rage. As he talks, the blanket under which he lies on the hospital bed, slips down a little from his chest. The word ‘Shahbulla’ is tattooed on the left side of his chest.
“I am a regular rock thrower from 2010. I throw stones because India doesn’t understand language of dialogue. I regularly participate in anti-India protests,” Bilal said, in the voice of open defiance that makes no request for anonymity, no attempt at dissimulation. When this reporter asked him if he wished to conceal his identity, he at once refused. “Go ahead and publish my name,” he said.
On Friday, August 25, Bilal said he had gone as usual to confront forces by throwing rocks at them. There were many other people doing the same, the “clashes” with the troops growing intense with each moment. At about 5pm, Bilal mistook a “sound bomb shell” for a teargas shell, and tried to throw it back at troops. “It exploded in my hand. I could see the flesh of my right hand torn apart. I felt extreme pain and fell unconscious, only to wake in SKIMS hospital,” he recalled.
Bilal’s cousin Naem Ahmed, 27, said that “some boys took him to Hajin hospital. From Hajin, he was referred to SKIMS Soura.”
Bilal told his cousin to be quiet and “let me speak”. He said, “I am not worried about arrest or any charge. They (India) should understand what we are demanding, which I know they won’t.”
Bilal rued the fact that “our own police use extreme force on their own people. They should understand that they (police) are the same as us.”
After his father’s death when he was of tender age, Bilal had no means to study. In his adolescence he took up the job of a mechanic in a local cable network. He has his mother, wife, two brothers and one sister in his family.
Asked about the tattoo, Bilal blinked and asked this reporter to lean close to him. In a low voice he said it was the name of his wife, whom he loved dearly. Asked if his wife Shahbulla tells him to stop this rock-throwing, he became visibly angry for a moment. Then he said, “Even if Shahbulla who is close to my heart would say so, I won’t listen. We are demanding our haq (right), which is Azadi. What is wrong in it?”
His cousin brought a cup of nun chai (Kashmiri traditional tea) for Bilal. Sipping it, he reiterated his intent: “I will continue to throw stones until freedom comes.”