Srinagar: Pellets can inflict multiple injuries on a single person— potentially 615. On Friday, three brothers from Chandkoot village of Baramulla were admitted to three different hospitals after being hit by pellets, making it difficult for their family and relatives to attend to them.
Mohammad Aslam Ganai, 25, Umar Ganai, 19, and Farooq Ahmad Ganai, 21, suffered serious pellet injuries after government forces fired into a demonstration that was held in protest against the raid at a venue where the people from several villages were scheduled to offer Friday prayers collectively on the call of the resistance leadership.
Scores of pellets have pierced the skin of Aslam’s leg, who has been admitted to the SMHS Hospital. The severity of the wounds becomes visible only when he lifts the green bed sheet off his legs.
When this reporter visited him, no one was attending him. The two relatives who had been with him had left a while ago for Bone and Joint hospital, where his brother Umar has been admitted for even more grievous pellet injuries.
In ward 17 of the B&J Hospital, where Umar has been admitted, it is hard to tell the most seriously injured inmate, as all patients are plastered and look like carbon copies of one another.
Umar is identifiable by a group of men who have surrounded his bed and are talking with a sense of urgency. His entire torso appears bandaged and two red stains stand out distinctly in the whiteness of the bandage.
His medical record says he has suffered Type 3 compound fracture in shoulder bone. A pellet fired from a gun that “was placed directly” on his shoulder has created an 8x5x2 cm wound, which has developed infection. Doctors have given him a unit of blood because during transit to the hospital he had lost a substantial amount of blood, a doctor said.
Farooq has suffered pellet injury in the right eye. Along with Aslam and Umar, he was first taken to a primary health centre in Shirakhwara, where doctors referred them to Kreeri hospital, where Farooq is currently undergoing treatment.
Umar told Kashmir Reader that people of Churoo, Chandkoot, Bagdara, Duwlatpora and Saloosa villages had decided to offer Friday prayers together at a sports ground in Saloosa at 2pm. Tents furnished with matting had been installed at the ground. Public address system was in place.
He said police arrived at the venue in two vehicles at about 11am and left after surveying the arrangements. But at about 1pm, police came again, this time in “many” vehicles, he said.
“As soon as they (government forces) got down from their vehicles they rushed into inside the venue and ransacked everything. Then they burnt down tents. They also damaged power transformers in Saloosa village,” said Umar.
The defiant villagers, however, decided not to call off prayers at the venue, although only 500 of them remained, most of the people having been frightened by the forces’ raid.
The people offered prayers at 2:30pm and after prayers decided to take out a protest march to Churoo village.
“We passed through Saloosa and Duwalatpora peacefully. When the procession was about to leave Bagdara and enter Chandkoot at around 3:30 pm, a large number of policemen and CRPF troopers fired into the jaloos (procession) as if they were at war,” said Umar.
“I saw Aslam falling down and as I went to his aid I felt something on my left shoulder. When I looked back it was a policeman holding the barrel of the gun on my shoulder. He then pulled the trigger. I regained consciousness here only,” said Umar.
According to Aslam, “many” people were injured in the incident “but six of us were targeted”.
Mehraj-u-din relative of Umar accompanying him in B&J said “not only Umar and Aslam were hit with pellets. Also, Farooq, 21 elder to Umar also got pellets in right eye”.
Umar and Aslam are worried about Farooq because of his eye injury.
“Will he be ok? I am worried about his sight?” said Umar.
Neither SSP Baramulla, nor SP Sopore, picked up phone.
A police official posted in Saloosa, requesting anonymity, said, “Police was on patrol in Saloosa area. About 10-15 boys ran after seeing us. It was all what happened at Saloosa. We didn’t ransack the venue.”
“Stone throwing is a routine at Churoo. Pellets might have been fired.”