Srinagar: With an oxygen pipe attached to his nose, 8-year-old Junaid lies reclined on a bed in SMHS hospital. Since the oxygen mask on his face was removed, he has been asking only one question, “Why did they hit me?”
Faisal, a relative of Junaid who is attending to him at the jospital, said that Junaid, a Class 5 student and resident of Nawabazar in downtown Srinagar, had gone to buy milk at 6:30 pm on Saturday when the SHO of police station MR Gunj, Aftab, fired pellets into his chest.
Faisal said that a police gypsy (Rakshak) made its way towards the Nawabazar Chowk where people were busy buying essentials. “As soon as the Rakshak reached the Nawabazar Chowk, there was panic among people. Everybody ran away from the spot, but Junaid could not move fast and became a victim to the police action. They fired a cartridge of pellets into his chest,” Faisal said
Junaid, writhing in pain, said that the SHO yelled at him when he was running away from the police jeep. When he stopped and looked towards the police officer, a pellet shot was fired at his chest.
“He called me, “Ho Ladka Ho!” As soon as I looked towards him, I felt hundreds of needles were inserted into my chest. There was blood oozing from my chest,” said Junaid with a feeble voice.
Faisal said that the pellets were fired from close range. “A big hole was formed on his chest. Shards of metal were stuck to his clothes. It was similar to the Chhatabal case where an ATM guard was shot at by pellets from close range by CRPF,” he said.
Junaid’s condition was critical when he was brought to hospital by neighbours at 7:30pm. “He was placed on ventilator as he could not breathe,” Faisal said.
Expressing gratitude towards the medical staff of SMHS hospital, Faisal said that it was due to the efforts of the doctors that Junaid was alive today. “I am thankful to the doctors here, especially the HOD, due to whose efforts Junaid survived. We had lost all hopes yesterday, given his condition, but thanks to God and the doctors who saved him,” he said.
Calling the police firing on Junaid a shame, Faisal said that the government was forcing people to employ violence as a means of protest.
The medical report of Junaid reads: “Multiple pellets seen within left anterior chest wall, and he has suffered a mild Pneumothorax, a condition of a collapsed lung.”
Raising concerns over the actions of the SHO Aftab, Faisal said that Nawabazar area is considered to be one of the most peaceful areas of the downtown. “Kalamdanpora of Nawabazar is known for its peaceful nature, since no stone pelting occurs in the area. Despite this, the SHO Aftab is hell-bent on terrorising the inhabitants,” Faisal said.