By ISHFAQ RESHI
Aripanthan Budgam: Critically injured on 16 August 2016 when CRPF killed four persons at Aripanthan in central district Budgam, in alleged unprovoked firing, Farooq Ahmad Bhat, 19, fought a tough battle between life and death.
He survived. But family says he is just “clinging to life”. Even after spending two months at SKIMS Soura, Farooq was never able to walk or talk again. He had received gunshot injuries in the left portion of his head that left one side of his body paralysed and snatched his power of speech.
“He has been in and out of consciousness and is unable to move or feel anything in his right portion of body and can’t speak a word except ‘patte.’” said Ghulam Muhammad Bhat, Farooq’s elder brother.
Despite government’s talk of helping the 2016 victims, the family says nobody bothered to even inquire about their plight.
“During his stay at the hospital, we had to arrange 43-pints of blood to save his life,” said Bhat.
“We had to spend more than five lakh on his medicines alone so far.”
While, Farooq cannot narrate the ordeal he has gone through, Bhat said that Farooq had gone outside to buy a newspaper when the shooting happened early in the morning.
“My brother was a 10th class student, very noble and social worker. A year earlier he got his right hand damaged in a grinding machine in front of our lawn. He has gone through four surgeries in his right hand. The forces alleged that the victims were throwing stones but Farooq couldn’t even use his hand, how is it possible that he would have been pelting stones?” Bhat said.
When Farooq fell on the spot with a bullet injury to his head, people on the spot deemed him dead.
“Later some youth of the locality boarded him in an ambulance and drove to SDH Beerwah from where they shifted him to SKIMS.”
“After spending 46 days in the Intensive Care Unit and 17 days in ward he finally opened his eyes at the hospital, and from that day we are still waiting for him to say a single word,” Bhat said.
Farooq’s sister, who was embroidering a shawl, told Kashmir Reader that his brother was shot “for no apparent reason”. “He posed absolutely no threat to the forces,” she said.
“Our elder brother was also martyred in 2003 and now it is our younger brother who has been rendered to the corner of his room, speechless and paralysed,” Bhat said. “He is breathing, but he is dead. A living corpse,” he said.
Bhat lamented that at one point the government had “promised to assist the victims of 2016 turmoil and there was a promise to help the victims but this never happened.”