68 admitted with grave injuries; SKIMS dismisses apprehensions that 4 critically injured patients on ventilators were dead and authorities were buying time to calm tempers
Srinagar: Shabir Ahmad (not his real name) lies on a bed in an isolated ward in SKIMS, with his left eye ‘blinded’ and face, neck and chest dotted with pellets.
These grave injuries though are not the only wounds for which he is recuperating in the Valley’s only tertiary hospital. Shabir was also hit by a bullet in his chest near Zanpa-Kadal masjid here, and he being alive, his family says, is a miracle.
“First the police fired pellets from a very close range targeting my face and neck. While all people were fleeing, police fired several rounds at me, with one hitting me in the chest,” Shabir told Kashmir Reader.
“They simply wanted to kill me and despite commotion, my friends and relatives whisked me away from the scene and brought me here,” he added. “It is a miracle that he is alive,” said Shabir’s uncle who along with four members attending him in the specialized ward where six other patients, with bullet wounds, are being treated since the uprising set in motion by the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani in Kokernag area of Anantnag district on Friday.
Police, Shabir said, used pellet and live ammunition when people were taking body of a man from south Kashmir towards a local park after offering his funeral prayers.
“We didn’t know who the slain person was. We had just assembled to offer funeral prayers as part of our religious obligation,” he said.
Admitted in an adjacent room in the same ward, another youth from Shopian district was writhing in pain while two of his attendants took him for some tests. His upper body is mutilated by pellets and a bullet wound on the shoulder.
“Are pellets not enough to kill people that they use bullets, please ask this question to police on my behalf,” said a man accompanying the youth.
Another youth from Pampore said that he was hit with a bullet in his chest when police opened fire, pellets and tear smoke shell in the south Kashmir locality on Saturday.
“I was going towards Anantnag in my vehicle in connection with business and as I saw large number of people on streets, I stopped and alighted from vehicle to see as to what was going on in their area. All of sudden tear smoke engulfed the area and police opened fire,” he said. “One bullet hit me in the chest,” he said.
He said there were few youths with pellet wounds who were brought along with him to the hospital.
Director SKIMS Dr Ahanger told Kashmir Reader that 68 persons have been admitted to the hospital in past four days and fifteen15 of them are critical.
“All patients are provided free medicine. We have also ensured that even their attendants are given free food given the situation,” he said.
Giving break-up of the injured persons, hospital’s medical superintendent, Dr Farooq Ahmad Jan said that 22 patients have bullet injuries, 27 pellet, nine stone, “two have been assaulted by (government) forces personnel” and seven others have been hit by tear smoke shells.
“Four among these patients are very critical and are presently on ventilators,” he said.
Asked about some reports doing rounds that these very critical patients were already dead and that the hospital administration was not declaring it so that there is no abrupt spurt in number of those dead, he said, “these are absolutely baseless reports and far from truth. All these patients are alive even though very critical.”
Talking to Kashmir Reader, a cousin of critically injured Sameer Ahmad said that he was showing no movement on the ventilator.
“He is like a motionless object on the ventilator,” he said.