Srinagar: “Neither there were any protests in our area nor our sons had participated in any protests,” say the grief-stricken family members of the brothers Mohammad Ayoub Khan, 32, and Nisar Ahmed Khan, 27, hit with pellets in their native town of Khanpora in Baramulla on the day after Eid.
The brothers lie on adjacent beds in SMHS hospital. Ayoub’s body from neck to toe is marked with pellet injuries. Nisar has pellets in his right eye and face.
According to Nisar, the two brothers were going to offer Maghrib prayers in the local masjid at 7pm. “Our house lies adjacent to the road at Khanpora in Baramulla district. My brother Ayoub had done ablution and was walking towards the mosque gate. I was coming out of the washroom located outside our house. No sooner than my brother reached the mosque gate, I saw a policeman aiming his gun towards us. I shouted and waved at him to desist, but he fired pellets at us.”
“My brother turned back but not before pellets had hit his neck, abdomen and back. I felt something sting my right eye and then I couldn’t see anything through it,” said Nisar.
Ayoub said that after firing pellets, government troops “walked with their batons towards us. But then, they suddenly left.”
Eid brings more victims to SMHS
Ayoub said that “miraculously, my eyes were saved. I was so close to the gun. Unfortunately, pellets hit my brother’s eye.”
When the two were taken to district hospital Baramulla by neighbours, Ayoub said that CRPF men deployed some metres away from the hospital did not allow them to move further. “Then we were taken to the primary health centre at Narwara in Sheeri,” Ayoub said.
“From there we were taken to district hospital Baramulla in an ambulance,” Ayoub said. “From there we were referred to Srinagar’s SMHS hospital.”
Ayoub pointed towards his brother and said, “We were preparing for his marriage on the 26th of this month. But fate had something different in store for us.”
At this, Nisar shouted, “Why are you cursing fate? This is zulm (atrocity). People are being shot with pellets even when they are inside their homes, without any reason.”
The family members of the duo said that “there is a police training centre located two kilometers away from our area. Every day at 7pm, ever since the current uprising has erupted, they (policemen) fire tear gas and pellets indiscriminately whenever they pass through our area.”
However, SHO of the area Khalid Fayaz told Kashmir Reader, “On the day after Eid-ul-Azha, stones were thrown by protestors on government troops when they were withdrawing from the area. They (protestors) stood atop Tikri, a small hill near the national highway, from where they threw stones on us. We fired only four to five pellet cartridges.”
On the allegation that policemen from the training centre were firing pellets at people, the SHO said, “These are all allegations. There is no truth in them. The police training school has nothing to do with law and order.”
“Some elders of the concerned area told me that the duo were standing on the second storey of their house. I maintain they were part of protests,” he added.