SRINAGAR: This year’s Eid is not what it used to be for those who lost their eyes to pellets fired by government troops last year. Many of these victims lost not just their ability to see, but also their family savings or the family’s sole bread earner.
“Eid means happiness. For me, happiness is when I would be able to see with my eyes. This has not happened in one year, so how does it matter whether the day is Eid or something else,” said Danish Rajab, in whose eyes a full cartridge of pellets was fired by government troops last year. He has been unable to recover his eyesight. His left eye was removed, and his right eye was operated on four times, twice at SMHS hospital, and twice again in a hospital outside the state.
“I have tried all things to gain just one percentage of eyesight. Medical science seems to have failed before Indian pellets. I am yet to gain any vision even after being operated on four times,” rued Danish. “I wish to go out, earn for my family, and offer prayers without anybody’s help,” he said.
Danish was a hardworking boy before he was blinded for life. He began working at a very young age to support his family. Now this 20-year-old is confined to the four walls of his room at his home in Rainawari. He can only step out of home with the help of his friends or cousins. This Ramazan, he offered five night prayers at the mosque.
For Ghulam Muhammad, another victim of the 2016 uprising, Eid does not bring any joy. His left eye was injured last year by pellets fired by government forces, and they have disabled him for life. Now he earns a meagre income by doing menial labour at construction sites. Before he lost his eyes, he was a carpet weaver.
“My father used to bring all kinds of gifts for us on Eid. Our home used to bustle with happiness,” said Abida, his daughter. “Today we had to struggle to get even a basic meal as my father could not make much money by doing labour work.”
Abdia told Kashmir Reader that her father’s eye was operated on many times, but when it did not bear fruit, the doctors asked him to change his profession. She said that she and her sister left studies midway to help her father meet the family expenses.
“I and my elder sister began looking for ways to earn. We took out time from our daily chores to learn weaving shawls from our cousins. We had no other choice,” she said.
“We sisters are now trying to educate our younger sibling. I hope we will win the battle against this hard life,” she said.