‘Troopers fired pellets at people coming out of mosque’

‘Troopers fired pellets at people coming out of mosque’

Ahmad says he was fired at, beaten

SRINAGAR: On Friday afternoon, when Sameer Ahmad, a 25-year-old made his way home after Friday prayers in Hassanpora neighbourhood near Arwani village, little did he know that a massive deployment of government forces is readying itself to confront hundreds leaving Jamia Masjid Qadeem after the congressional prayers.
While people offered prayers, a war-like situation had evolved in Arwani. An encounter had erupted between government forces and Lashkar-e-Toiba militants in Arwani village of this south Kashmir Kulgam district.
Ahmad says that Army troopers and Special Operations Group personnel, fearing an attack by people coming out of the mosque, intercepted the people, lobbing tear smoke canisters and fired pellet guns and chased them away. “I took shelter in one of the houses in the neighbourhood,” Ahmad said.
It is here that Ahmad received a “volley of pellets” all over his face. “I fell on the veranda of house, where I stood enquiring about the happenings outside,” he says.
“I could have understood what has made them (forces) so violent that they are firing pellets and bullets indiscriminately, I could not wrap my head around the attack on me. I was made a target.”
Dizzy from the impact of pellets, Ahmad fell on an iron rod that stood erect on edges of the veranda. He says the rod pierced through his shoulder, sending waves of sharp pain through his body. The injuries left screaming in pain.
“I somehow managed to pull the rod out and tried to flee from the spot, but the forces got hold of me,” Ahmad says.
Ahmad, who was on a fast, found himself being kicked by a group of forces personnel. One among them,he says, hit him with a gun butt that caused serious injuries all over his face, head and chest.
The nature of injuries is such that he can not open his eyes while he speaks to Kashmir Reader. Blood oozes out from both of his eyes.
When troopers let Ahmad go, and was rushed to a nearby hospital with swollen eyes and blood oozing out of them, his uncle failed to recognize his “disfigured face”. Ahmad says that his uncle kept helping other injured at the hospital, not realizing I was there.
Doctors treating Ahmad at SMHS say that blood has clotted inside his chest and needs to be drained out in a surgery. “He (Sameer) has serious injuries in chest and eyes,” said the doctor.
Outside the operation theatre at Shri Maharaja Hari Singh hospital, Ahmad’s aunt, Shakeela, consoles him. She says that the family was still carrying the sweet memories of Ahmad’s marriage when the news reached them.
Only 25 days have passed since Ahmad, a carpenter by profession, brought home his bride. “We hadn’t even imagined that our son would meet this fate someday,” Shakeela says of the tragedy on a ‘black day’ when mayhem ruled Arwani where three militants were holed up in an encounter.
Around 19 youth targeted by government force across Kashmir on Friday were admitted to the SMHS hospital – eyes bandaged or limbs broken either from the pellets showered at then or from bullets fired by the forces.
“Few among them have been discharged and several others are still receiving treatment at the hospital,” medical superintendent SMHS hospital, Nazir Choudhary told Kashmir Reader.

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