Sopore: Serious burn injuries were caused to four children in Sopore on Friday when they picked up an unexploded teargas shell. The teargas shells were fired by government forces during clashes with local youth near the Jamia Masjid after Friday congregational prayers.
“Children pick up the unexploded shells knowing not they are dangerous. During clashes they see them exploding and smoking on the street, so they sometimes try to set the shells on fire. My child tried the same. The shell burned half his body,” said Farooq Ahmad Sofi, the father of one of the injured children.
The four kids have been identified as Tawseef Ahmad Sofi, son of Farooq Ahmad Sofi; Safaan Riyaz Kaloo, son of Riyaz Ahmad Kaloo; Hashim Firdous Kana, son of Firdous Ahmad Kana, and Azim Jan Sheikh, son of Jan Mohd Sheikh, all residents of Khushal Matoo area of Sopore town.
Tawseef, who is nine years old, has received serious burn injuries on his face, hands, arms and legs. He was taken to sub-district hospital Sopore for treatment, where first-aid was given to him but during the night he complained of serious pain in his eyes and was taken to Srinagar for treatment. He is currently in a Srinagar hospital and his condition is said to be stable, said Aqib, his elder brother.
Safaan Riyaz, who is of the same age and studies in the same class as Tawseef, received burn injuries in both his legs, arms and hands. Safaan was accompanying the other three kids who lighted up the teargas shell.
Hashim Firdous, the eldest among the four victims, studies in the third standard and is ten years old. He has received burn injuries similar to those of Safaan.
Azim Jan, the youngest among the victims, is seven years old. He has received burn injuries in his hands, arms and legs.
When contacted, the Station House Officer of Sopore police station, Mudasir Geelani, said that sometimes youth put water or wet clothes on the teargas shell when it falls to the ground, and sometimes the shell falls in a water puddle or wet ground, which prevents it from exploding.
“We have many times surveyed areas to search for unexploded teargas shells but the stone-pelters take them away along with them,” the SHO said.