Army fired indiscriminately, ‘like one shoots ducks’, say Shopian residents
Srinagar: Daanish Hamid, 18, had a close shave with death on Sunday in Wangam village of Shopian. He was outside his house, he says, when he saw army soldiers firing indiscriminately at people of his neighbourhood. “I tried to run away but they targeted me also. I felt a painful sensation in my right leg and fell down. I gained consciousness in hospital, after surgery,” he told Kashmir Reader at Bone and Joint Hospital Barzulla, where a surgery was performed on him to remove the bullet in his right thigh.
As many as 10 civilians injured in Shopian district by bullets, which doctors say were fired from “close range”, are admitted at the Bone and Joint (B&J) Hospital. Daanish is still in the trauma ward. He wants to go home, he says. His father, Abdul Hamid, tells him, “There is a curfew in Shopian. It’s not safe to go home.”
Daanish said that the army men who fired in his neighbourhood were returning from the encounter site in nearby Kachdora village. His father alleged that the army fired without any provocation, as there was no stone-pelting going on in their area.
“There was a peaceful protest going on in a neighbourhood village. But the army didn’t spare anyone,” Abdul Hamid said.
The bullet that hit Daanish shattered his thigh bone. Doctors said that it would take him some months to recover.
Others admitted to the trauma ward narrated a similar ordeal. Most of them said they were shot by the army or by policemen of the “SOG”, special operations group, as the police units engaged in counter-insurgency operations are known in Kashmir.
“They had gone wild. They shot people as one shoots ducks. People were running towards safety when the encounter was going on in Kachdora and Dragad,” said Mohd Altaf, a survivor from Chatterpur village.
“I was sitting in a park when the forces targeted me,” he said.
Nissar Ahmad Bhat of Kachdora said police fired pellets indiscriminately and made use of heavy tear gas shelling to disperse people who had gathered to offer funeral prayers for the slain militants.
“I was also participating in the funeral prayers when the army fired at me, leaving me seriously injured,” he said.
Medical Superintendent of B&J Hospital, Dr Abdul Rashid Badoo, told Kashmir Reader that the admitted patients have been operated on. “They need complete bed rest for many months, as bones cannot heal quickly,” he said. “Most of them had fracture in their limbs,” he added.
22-year-old Tanveer Ahmad Malik of Saidapora is unable to move his left arm ever since it was hit by a bullet. But he is grateful that he is alive.
“I am thankful to Allah that I survived,” he said. “I was knocked down after being hit by a bullet and I don’t know what happened later. It was mayhem all around. They beat people after hitting them with bullets.”
People attending to the injured unanimously asserted that army and police fired “unprovoked.”
“It was totally uncalled for and unjustified,” said Tariq Ahmad of Kachdora.