Shopian: The hard-up father of a Shopian teen, who became the latest victim of pellet blindness, is unable to make out as to how he would meet the expanses of eye surgery of his son, the last hope to partially regain the sight of his son.
On the fateful evening of August 13, Sahil Hameed Bhat, a class XII student was hit by a shower of pellets when he was lazing out at a local park in Shopian town. The pellets were fired by a party of government forces returning from Awneera village where three militants and two soldiers died in a prolonged gun-battle.
The enraged government forces, without any provocation, hit the teenager from a speeding vehicle leaving a trail of agony in the teen’s life.
Sahil’s father Abdul Hameed Bhat says that his son has been hit by pellets in both eyes. While one eye is completely damaged, the other has a meager chance to regain sight if timely surgical intervention is done.
“When my son was showered with pellets and rushed to hospital by his friends, I had not a single penny at my home. My neighbours and relatives collected some cash for his initial treatment,” he said.
“Doctors at SMHS hospital in Srinagar told us that Sahil has three pellets in right eye and two in left. The right eye is totally blinded but the doctors suggest that there was a chance to save his left eye through surgery,” he said adding that he has no money for the costly treatment. “I don’t need any help from those who blinded my son. I request the victims of state brutality to come forward to save the vision of my son,” he said.
Hameed’s story is pathetic. He lost his wife to deadly cancer in 2006, which also took a heavy toll on the financial stability of the family. “My lone son was the main hope of my better future but the government forces snatched his eyesight. Besides Sahil, I have two unmarried daughters,” he said.
Bhat’s neighbours say that he was unable to make the two ends meet when a new challenge was thrown to him by the destiny.
Sahil was pursuing studies at at government boys higher secondary school Shopian besides helping his father in domestic chores. “Till 5 pm of 13th August I was painting room walls of my house. When I ventured out of my house in the evening, I head there was some encounter in a neighbouring village,” he said.
He said that without going into details of the encounter he headed for his evening routine—to play with his pals at the local park. “To our ill-luck, when we entered the park, a heavy rainfall started and we could not stay there for longer,” he said.
When we came out of the park some army vehicles were passing by. I was on one side of the road and my friends had crossed it. I waited for the vehicles to cross but some troopers from last two vehicles fired pellet bursts on my friends and me. I thought I have been hit with bullets. I don’t know know what happened later till I regained my conscience at SMHS Hospital. I came to know that both of my eyes have been blinded, Sahil recounted.
The friends who accompanied Sahil said that the troopers opened fire without any provocation. “They (troopers) were vengeful and wanted to hit us all,” said one of the friends. “I swear by God, there was no stone pelting. They (forces) intentionally blinded him,” Faisal Hameed one of his friends said.