Doctors say he may not speak again and it will take at least a year for him to recover ‘if he survives’
Srinagar: On September 19, Sabzar Ahmad, a 32-year-old man of Vehil Shopian was picking apples in his orchard. Outside, a freedom rally was underway. People from several neighbouring villages had decided to assemble at Vehil for the rally. Freedom slogans and speeches saturated the air.
“Everything was smooth. People had come in large numbers, there were children and women in the gathering. The air smelled of azadi that day,” said Abid Hussain, Sabzar’s cousin.
“But when they (police and CRPF) came they disturbed everything and started firing pellets and teargas shells into the procession,” said Abid.
An 11-year-old girl, Khushboo Jan, died of a cardiac arrest people said was caused by a sound grenade. More than 80 people were injured that day, two of them critically.
Sabzar was one. According to Abid, the forces fired a teargas shell at Sabzar’s head when he threw stones at them to stop them from damaging the orchard.
“While disrupting the freedom rally the troopers entered his orchard and started felling the apples. This enraged him and he threw stones at them. His defiance probably pricked their ego. None of the stones hit them,” Abid said, standing beside Sabzar at the SKIMS Hospital.
“He has been looking after the orchard since his childhood. He is a family man and he couldn’t tolerate that they were damaging the crop for no reason,” Abid said.
Sabzar writhes in pain still. His clean-shaven head has dozens of stitches. Abid said the doctors have told them that Sabzar’s left side might be permanently paralysed and he may not talk again.
A doctor, who requested anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media, told Kashmir Reader, “There are multiple contusions in his brain as the shell had hit his head, there is fracture in his skull. And one of his skull bones has been removed.”
He said that the bone was removed to subside the swelling in the brain and that the bone replacement would take place after three months.
“It is a narrow escape but with brain injuries you can never be sure about anything. He might have a healthy life ahead or he might die in a few days. For now I can say that it will at least take a year for him to recover if he does at all,” the doctor said.
“Not talking again means he won’t say the azaan again. Go and ask people how melodious his azaan was,” Abid said and broke down.
“His father doesn’t know that Sabzar has suffered this serious injury as he is on Hajj. Who will tell him?” Abid said.