Srinagar: An eerie silence prevails in the plastic surgery section of ward 6 of SKIMS. Sullen faces and tired eyes of the attendants, waiting on patients with gruesome injuries, dominate the scene. A woman points towards a boy who lies reclined with a plastered leg and says, “He has two bullets in his right leg.”
Amid burnt bodies and depressed faces, what stands out is the determined frame of Mushtaq Ahmad Dar standing besides his son Waseem Raja. Waseem, a 15-year-old boy from Bandipora, lies on the bed like a corpse, his eyes dilated and his entire torso swathed in bandage. Both his hands are also covered in bandage. A protective cover called ‘cradle’ is placed over him.
Mushtaq Ahmad is fanning his son with a hand-held fan. A small part of Waseem’s bandaged neck is visible. The burnt skin seems to have been peeled off with a knife.
“This is how the whole of his torso looks like,” says the father. He says that the skin fell off Waseem’s body like molten polythene falling to the ground.
Mushtaq said that Waseem had gone to his maternal house in Nathpora in Bandipora district, where he was injured. “There were clashes going on between forces and people, and Waseem was part of them,” Mushtaq said. The forces hurled a diesel bomb upon the protesters which struck Waseem, causing the burns in his body, Mushtaq said.
Doctors treating Waseem said that the injuries would take at least a couple of months to heal, as the diesel bomb had peeled off his skin. “In a month or two he would be able to stand without any difficulty, and it would take another couple of months for his pain to go away,” a doctor said.
The doctors have prescribed Anxit 0.25 to calm the traumatised patient. “We prescribed the medicine so that he gets some sleep,” the doctor said.
Waseem’s father, however, was more concerned about the pain that the “nation” was suffering. “What concerns me is the pain that Kashmiris are going through right now,” he said. “All the pain will go away if there is an outcome (solution to Kashmir issue), even the pain that Kashmiris have gone through since ages.” Then he pulled up his shirt and pointed towards the “torture marks” that he had suffered during the ’90s.
“We are Tehreeki (pro-freedom) people, and have sacrificed since the beginning of the armed struggle that broke out in 1989. We are ready to sacrifice everything we have for the Kashmiri cause, no matter how much pain it inflicts,” Mushtaq said.