SRINAGAR: Although many ruling party legislators have, ironically, asked the government to rethink the use of lethal pellet ammunition and stun grenades on protesters, an eight-year-old boy has suffered serious burn wounds in the face after a teargas canister exploded near him.
Aamir Bilal, a class 3 student, who is being treated at the SMHS Hospital for burns, had gone out to fetch milk when the canister, fired by the police at protesters demonstrating against immolation bid on Kashmiri truckers in Jammu, exploded in front of him in Saraf Kadal on Sunday, his family said.
Doctors treating him say his is a rare case of burn injuries caused by a teargas canister.
“We have seen cases where people have suffered severe irritation in eyes or the respiratory tract, or suffered wounds after being hit by teargas canister directly. But Aamir’s case is the first of its kind in which a person’s entire face got burned because of a teargas shell. It is probably a new teargas shell,” says Shabir Iqbal, a professor of plastic surgery at the SMHS Hospital.
A doctor at the surgical emergency ward said Aamir has 18 per cent burn injuries and will recover in time.
“A teargas has come his way and it had burst. The fumes of it had gone into the respiratory track; his eyes have also got affected. But major damage is on the face and arms,” says Shabir Iqbal.
A police officer, wishing anonymity, said that it appears the teargas canister was set afire in this case, but “it can cause burns if it explodes close to a person”.
Aamir’s father Bilal Ahmad said, “I went crazy when I saw his face. My entire body was shaking and I couldn’t stop crying.”
“While I was in this miserable state, the policemen had seized the car in which Aamir was brought to the hospital and also detained the persons who drove it. I had to go the police station to make them understand that these people have helped my son and they were not protesters,” Bilal added.
Bilal and many Saraf Kadal residents who visited the injured boy said they have never seen him throwing stones at police.
“How can a kid be a stone thrower?” he said.