SRINAGAR: Moved by the pain and suffering of those who lost their eyes to pellets last year, Ali Mohammad Sofi, a 45-year-old labourer, has advertised in a local Urdu daily that he is ready to donate one eye of his. Sofi, a resident of Angnanal village in Anantnag’s district, said he first went to local cable operators to advertise that he wished to donate an eye, but the cable operators demanded two-thousand rupees for the advertisement. “I told them fear Allah, I am doing it for charity,” Sofi said.
“It would tear my heart apart. I could not bear the pain and suffering of the school and college-going children,” Sofi said.
“So I decided to donate one of my eyes. I am doing it in the path of Allah. What have I to take from this world? The only thing which will please me and Allah is the alleviation of pain and suffering of my fellow human beings.”
Sofi said he would donate eyes to only those who are poor and needy. “My family tried hard to stop me from donating my eye,” Sofi said. “I prevailed upon them. I told them Allah is with me. May be, with the grace of Allah, I may have more vision than I possess now.”
After his advertisement, many people called him, seeking information and help, but though he told them he will help, nobody called back. “Now, for the past few days, I am again receiving phone calls from the relatives of victims,” Sofi said. “I received a call from Sopore on Saturday morning. The caller told me the boy is poor and has lost both his eyes. He told me the boy was so frustrated that he was asking his family to feed him poison I told the caller to consult the doctor and that I was ready to offer my eye. I told him wherever he wants me to come, I will come.”
A month ago, he said, he received a call asking for help which he declined. “The caller said that his brother was blind in both eyes. He told me that they were three brothers. When I heard this, I asked him why one among the brothers could not donate an eye? I asked him how can you see your brother living in darkness and suffering?”
Sofi said he will donate his eye to anybody who has gone blind due to pellets. “If he is Hindu or Sikh, I will donate my eye to him,” Sofi said.
Sofi said there was widespread oppression in Kashmir, and even “mothers and daughters are disrespected” by government forces. “The government should not have committed excesses against the people, especially on the women. They should not have fired pellets into the eyes of boys and girls,” Sofi said.
According to hospital figures, about 1,000 people sustained pellet injuries in their eyes during the uprising last year. Many among them were fully or partially blinded.