SRINAGAR: Amir Mir was playing cricket with his friends in the playground at Kakapora, Pulwama, at around 10 am on Sunday morning. “We play every Sunday, so we followed the schedule on that day too. We had no idea that an encounter will take place and we will land in trouble,” he says.
The playground the 18-year-old was playing at is 2-3 km away from the encounter site: “I was bowling when my friends started shouting that the police was around. I thought they were trying to distract me, but suddenly I heard a thud. Indian troopers were firing at us.”
“We ran, but they chased us and fired teargas canisters, I was hit on my back and I collapsed.” It was Amir’s friends who brought him to SMHS hospital, where he is now being treated. “We were playing. There are witnesses as to how Indian troopers targeted us. We didn’t instigate them, as is usually alleged,” he says.
Muzamil Ahmad Dar, a teenager from Kakapora, was driving when his car ran when he into a protest rally. “The Indian troopers were firing tear gas canisters and pellets on the protesters. I left my car on the road and tried to run away, but was hit by pellets,” he says.
Muzamil has around 70 pellets lodged in his body. His right eye has been operated on and doctors are planning to operate again in a week’s time. His brother, Fayaz Ahmad says, “Neither has Amir ever been involved in stone-pelting nor is he a militant. Why was he targeted? We need an answer from the government. We are not sons of bureaucrats that we can afford to treat Amir in big hospitals of India. My father is a labourer and only he knows how he is arranging money for our studies,” he says angrily.
Ghulam Mohiudin, who was hit by a bullet, regrets that he could not save Shaista Hamid, the 22-year-old girl killed in the firing. Mohiudin, a carpenter, was going to his uncle’s place: “My uncle’s house is in the neighbourhood. He wasn’t at home, and when returning, I saw vehicles of the troopers, and personnel who were firing on people. Shaista was on the verandah of her house. The door of the house was open, as soon as I rushed in, they fired on both of us.” Shaista succumbed to her injuries, and Mohiudin was hit in his abdomen.
There was ‘evident frustration’ on the faces of the troopers, says Mohiudin, “They were angry that two militants managed to escape. And so they vented their anger on us. They also beat up women and harassed them. They didn’t even spare the elderly and hurled abuses on them”.
According to SMHS records, five people received bullet injuries in the incident while 12 were either injured by pellets or tear gas shells. Two among the injured, as reported earlier, died.