A young woman gasps for breath as she speaks of what remains of her; her husband says that doctors have warned of her condition deteriorating anytime
ANANTNAG: Reenu, 25, appears to be a healthy woman but the pellets fired by state forces on August 8 last year have damaged her internal organs so badly that she can neither stand nor talk in a high tone for long. Dozens of pellets still remain inside her body causing her severe breathlessness. “The pellets have ruined my life. I can’t cook in a standing position even for fifteen minutes. I have placed this gas choolha on floor to enable myself to cook in a sitting position. Walking even for few yards causes such severe suffocation in me that I lose all hopes of survival,” Reenu told Kashmir Reader at her under-construction house at Semthan Bijbehara.
While Reenu was narrating her agony, she suffered acute breathlessness that lasted for over a minute. Then she said, “See how my breath gets choked suddenly.”
Reenu’s hospital documents reveal that a full cartridge of pellets hit her shoulder plate. “A cartridge of pellets retrieved from the wound,” reads her hospital file.
Her husband, Muhammad Yunus Lone, said that she had been hit in both her lungs and her heart. “After being hit by pellets she slipped into coma for at least twenty days. She remained under observation at ICU of the hospital for at least a month. Later she was shifted to the IPD ward where she was kept for two more months. During the period of her hospitalisation she was operated on four times,” Yunus, a driver by profession, told Reader.
Her wound, Yunus said, was so deep that doctors had to remove the flesh from her hip to fill her wound.
Reenu’s treatment so far has cost her husband over three lakh rupees and continues to consume his hard-earned money.
“More than three lakh rupees have gone so far on her treatment. For a month her medication costs are 2,500 rupees. We have to hire a vehicle at least once a month to take her to hospital for check-up,” Yunus said.
Despite spending much money on her treatment Yunus has no hope of her condition improving. “She lives with a huge number of pellets inside her body. Doctors clearly told us that they cannot remove the pellets from her vital organs. Before discharging her from hospital, they made it clear that her condition cannot improve, and is rather likely to deteriorate any time,” Yunus, who himself has undergone a throat surgery, said.
Reenu is one of four women who were hit by pellets on August 8 when government forces raided the village.
Recalling the horror of that day, Reenu said that the forces included police and CRPF and the troops rained pellets on everyone, without regard for age or gender.
“Soon after we had finished our morning tea, there was an announcement from the masjid asking people to come out of their houses. I went out to see what was going on. As I reached near the main road, I saw two young girls crying with their eyes bleeding. I held their hands and took them to a nearby house with the intention to wash their eyes,” Reenu said.
As soon as Reenu set one foot inside the house, forces who were hiding behind the wall fired at her a full cartridge of pellets.
“I could not move my foot. I started crying for help. Some people came and shouldered me to the hospital. For a month I found myself in the hospital,” Reenu said.