By Nouman Parvez
Srinagar: Thirteen-year-old Islamic scholar Hafiz Shahid-ul-Islam from Chee village in chief minister’s parliamentary constituency Anantnag is writhing in pain in the ward 8 of the SMHS Hospital here.
He received pellets in his left eye on August 6 when he was going to a religious gathering to recite a few verses of the Holy Quran.
Out of 30 chapters, Shahid, a student of Sirajul Uloom Islamic seminary, has already memorised 22. Lying on bed number 7 of the hospital ward for treatment of his blindness, his deepest regret is that he may not be able to memorise the remaining chapters of the Holy book.
“My only dream to memorise the Holy Quran and to become a Mufti will always remain a dream now,” he sobbed.
Recollecting the incident that resulted in his blindness, Shahid said: “I was heading towards the venue of the congregation at around 7:45 am. I had walked a few meters from my residence when I noticed a police gypsy heading towards me.
“I thought they will leave me unhurt because I never pelted stones. But they aimed their pellet guns at me. They fired at my eyes.”
Shahid said the pellets hit his left eye, turning dark for him.
“Blood started oozing out from my eyes, and I felt that my eyeball would come out of its socket. Allah gave me courage to cover it with a handkerchief and run towards safety,” he explained.
Shahid’s cousin, who is among his attendants at the hospital, said he led the prayers in a Masjid at Pinjoora, Shopian, in the month of Ramadhan.
“The people from that village later came to our home to congratulate us. But the pellets have handicapped him and shattered his dream,” he said.
According to his father, Shahid’s mother went looking for him immediately after the news about the incident reached them.
“But she too was targeted by police with pellets,” he said. “She has received pellet injuries in her private parts and has been also admitted here to the SMHS Hospital.”
He said the forces also vandalised properties in their village.
His attendants accused the police of trying to prevent them from taking Shahid to a hospital.
They said they were told that he should die of blood loss.
He was taken to Mattan hospital through alternate routes where police, as per the attendants, threatened the staff to turn away the victims of government forces’ action.
Shahid, they said, was then shifted to the Sub-District Hospital Janglaat Mandi, Anantnag, from where he was referred to the SMHS Hospital for specialised medical care.
Attempts to contact police for comments couldn’t bear fruit.