Two months after he woke up, his eye was destroyed with pellets
PULWAMA: On August 24 when state forces opened fire at a pro-freedom rally in Prichoo Pulwama, one of the bullets hit 27-year-old Muhammad Ashraf Wani in his back. The bullet penetrated into his chest and ruptured some of his internal organs. Though doctors at SMHS conducted surgery on him the same day and removed the bullet, he continued to be in coma for fifteen days. After regaining consciousness, he remained under observation at the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) for more than twenty days. Recuperating at home, he was beginning to once again move about on his own feet when government forces attacked Prichoo Pulwama again. This time, they hit Ashraf with pellets, blinding one of his eyes.
“He had received 75 stitches during the surgery for bullet injury. And just when he had started showing signs of improvement, the forces again came and attacked him with pellets,” said Ashraf’s mother, Rahti.
Recalling the horror of that day, Rahti said, “On the morning of 31st October, forces came and started ransacking village houses. It led to protests by the villagers. Knowing that my son won’t be able to run if the forces enter our house, I led him away to the nearby fields and asked him to hide there till the forces go back. However, when the clashes spread in the entire village and the forces went berserk, he slowly moved towards safety near the karewa in the upper side of the village. But the forces found him there and on finding him, fired pellets into his eyes and chest,” Rahti said.
“We found him at the karewa in half-dead state. Forces had emptied hundreds of pellets into his shoulder, arm and eyes,” Rahti said.
The pellets, Ashraf’s younger brother Nasir Ahmad said, completely damaged his left eye. “Despite two surgeries conducted by the doctors in his right eye he has not regained his vision,” Nasir said.
Ashraf is a student of BA final year. Being the eldest among five siblings including three sisters, he was shouldering the family’s responsibility after his father’s death.
“After my husband’s death thirteen years ago, it was he who ensured our dignified living. Besides continuing his studies he would do wage labour to earn for the family. He organised the marriage of his two younger sisters a couple of years ago from his own earning. But now he has been rendered disabled,” said his mother.
Rahti said that no one from any religious or pro-freedom group provided any financial assistance for Ashraf’s treatment. “Doctors here don’t tell us clearly whether he will regain his vision or not. We want to take him outside the state for treatment but we don’t have any money for it. Now I only keep praying to Allah for the recovery of my son. Allah knows he is my only support and I am hopeful He will answer my prayers,” Rahti said.