Pulwama SP says ‘first details point towards Rashtriya Rifles personnel’
Srinagar: A youth returning from the funeral of militants killed in the gunfight at Lethpora, Pulwama, was hit by bullets allegedly fired by soldiers of the army’s Rashtriya Rifles on Monday. According to the survivor’s family, 18-year-old Manzoor Ahmad Rather of Tahab village, Pulwama, had a close shave with death at Drabgam village when bullets allegedly fired by the Rashtriya Rifles hit him in the shoulder and left side of his face, leaving him unconscious and defaced.
“It was scary and there was panic all around when the army’s Rashtriya Rifles opened indiscriminate firing on people who were returning from the funerals of two local militants,” Manzoor’s cousin, Bilal Ahmad, told Kashmir Reader.
“Manzoor was hit when the army targeted him as he ran for safety towards the fields,” Bilal said.
According to Manzoor’s father, the incident happened at about 8.30am on Monday. He said Manzoor was hit by two bullets in his face and shoulder, and he was lying unattended in Drabgam village, groaning in pain.
“No one helped my son for almost 30 minutes after he was hit by the bullets. Then, some locals gathered courage and shifted him to Pulwama District Hospital, where doctors gave him first-aid and referred him to SKIMS Soura,” said Manzoor’s father, Abdul Salam Rather.
“The impact of the bullets has affected his face so much that it has swollen and a deep scar is still visible even after surgery,” Abdul Salam said.
Doctors at SKIMS Soura said Manzoor’s left zygomatic bone (cheekbone) has been shattered due to the bullet injury, leaving him defaced.
“We have operated on him and fixed the cheekbone through an internal fixation. He may need long-term care and repeated rounds of plastic surgery to treat the scar and damage,” said a doctor on duty in SKIMS’ Post-Operative Ward.
“We are accessing him for specific diagnosis and damage. We may have to do multiple surgeries to treat the scars,” he said.
Meanwhile, the police have filed an FIR and started an investigation to ascertain the series of events which led to the severe injury to the youth.
“We are investigating the case in which a youth received bullet injury. The incident occurred around an army camp in Shadimarg area where RR is posted,” Superintendent of Police Pulwama Muhammad Aslam told Kashmir Reader.
He said some reports said that soldiers from the the Rashtriya Rifles camp opened fire on a group of youth who tried to attack them with stones.
“Although we are yet to be clear about the incident, first details point towards RR personnel who retaliated to stone-pelting from a group of youth,” he said.