SRINAGAR: Government forces are firing pellets not to control protests but to frighten the people, said Shakeela Bano, a middle-aged woman from Fateh Garh, Baramulla, who is at the risk of losing eyesight after the forces fired pellets in both of her eyes on Friday.
She cites her own example to support her argument that the forces are firing pellets indiscriminately into people.
“I had gone out to look for my 5-yera-old son who was playing outside. As soon as I stepped out of the house I saw a CRPF trooper. I loudly called my son’s name in the hope he would be around. Suddenly the trooper fired pellets. I fell unconscious,” Shakeela told Kashmir Reader in Ward 8 of the SMHS Hospital.
Shakeela said people of the area had planned to organise a freedom rally after Friday prayers but police and soldiers thwarted it by firing teargas and pellets.
Shakeela’s family members also alleged the CRPF troopers also damaged public property and ransacked many residential houses in the area without any provocation, which led to clashes in which dozens of people were injured. They also said the troopers barged into mosques and damaged power transformers in the area.
The 23-year-old Wasim Ahmad and 16-year-old Feroz from Bijbehara in Anantnag and Kelar in Shopian respectively too were admitted to the SMHS Hospital for eye pellet injuries they sustained when forces attacked pro-freedom rallies after Friday prayers.
Wasim made a similar complaint as Shakeela’s—the forces fired pellets at him without any provocation.
Scores of pellets dot Wasim’s body, from his head, including both eyes, to the lower abdomen.
“The CRPF personnel targetted me deliberately. They just fired at me from a very close range,” Wasim cries while laying in his bed in ward no 12 of Srinagar’s SMHS hospital.
According to the doctors at hospital, two pellets are present in his eye and another in the left.
“As of now, we can’t predict anything about his situation. He needs to be operated multiple times as the pellets have damaged his eyes and other vital body parts badly,” a doctor said on the condition of anonymity.
Doctors said multiple pellets are present in his interior chest wall, upper abdominal wall, lower intestinal areas, and left shoulder girdle (set of bones connecting arm to the skeleton). Apart from that, multiple pellets are situated in his right interior chest wall and few pellets in inner aspect of peripheral wall.
According to his family members, Wasim had gone to Jamia Masjid Bijbehara to offer Friday prayers but while coming back was targeted in a lane leading to his home.
“There were protest demonstrations and clashes after Friday prayers in Bijbehara. So avoiding the main road, I took the interior route to reach home but was stopped by a CRPF trooper who without any provocation fired pellets at me directly. It was a target firing. Nobody else was there,” Wasim says.
A few beds away from Wasim is Feroz from Kelar Shopian, who has been unconscious for the past 24 hours. He has serious pellet injuries in the chest, forearm, lower limbs, thighs, face and tongue.
The patient, according to the doctors, has suffered trauma due to pellet injuries. His family members say he was returning home from private tuitions when the forces fired pellets at him,
“We have done the primary repair. We need to perform more surgeries,” doctors attending him said.
According to hospital authorities, more than 700 patients with eye pellet injuries have been treated at the hospital during the past 64 days of the uprising.