Pellet victims’ blurry path to recovery drains families

Pellet victims’ blurry path to recovery drains families
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Have no money to continue treatment, say some

SHOPIAN: As government forces continue to use pellets on civilian protestors in Kashmir, many of the old victims wonder if they would be able to live normal lives, ever, again.
Sahil Hameed Bhat, a resident of Bonbazar area of Shopian town is restricted to his room for the last six months after he was injured with pellets in August 2017.
A student of Class XII, when injured, Sahil missed board exams due to his injuries, as he is barely able to see.
Sahil’s family said he was he was returning home from a local park on August 13, 2017 when government forces returning from an gunfight in Awneera village after killing three militants passed through the area.
“My son was not involved in stone pelting and all people know what happened that day. He was targeted by forces as they want our children blind,” Sahil’s father Abdul Hameed Bhat said.
Sahil was hit with a full cartridge of pellets injuring his eyes and body. He has had two surgeries since. His family faces financial hardships to continue the treatment.
“I have no land or any other means. He (Sahil) is blinded in both eyes. My relatives helped me till date to have surgeries of Sahil. So far it has cost me five lakh rupees for two surgeries and medicines but he has not regained eye sight yet,” Hameed said.
Sahil is the only son among three children.
“Doctors at Daljit Singh’s hospital in Amritsar told us on first visit there that there are no chances of regaining eye sight in right eye because of three pellets lodged inside. They told us the pellets can’t be removed as they are stuck in the rear side,” Sahil’s sister said, adding that they have to go to Amritsar on May 1 for one more surgery in left eye.
“They (doctors) told us that they will insert an artificial lens in his left eye which may increase his eye sight,” she added.
Sahil told Kashmir Reader that since the incident he has to maintain a specific position to sit and sleep as advised by doctors.
“In the beginning doctors advised me to sleep in a particular position for day as well as night but on recent visit to hospital they told me that I can change sleeping position in day but have to follow the older one during night,” he said.
Sahil said that he is tired and exhausted by sitting in one room for more than six months.
“I was used to play cricket, play with friends, go to school but now this room has become a jail for me. My left eye has regained 60 percent of sight but right one is total blind,” he said while adding that he can’t read or recognise smaller objects.
He cannot even wash his head.
“Doctors told me to not to get water in the eyes, if I did so then there is no use of treatment. My sisters used to wash my head. They make me hold my head bent back then they wash my head,” Sahil said.
Sahil’s father says he has no money to further treatment.
“If people help me without having any political interest I will welcome but I need no help from government, ” Hameed said.
Hameed makes a living by selling chicken on a roadside cart near his home. Both his daughters are undergraduate students at Government Degree College Shopian.
In Hameed’s neighbourhood, another boy, Arsalan Bashir Turray was recently injured with pellets.
“We went to Srinagar for check up. Thank Allah, he has narrow escape from getting blinded. He has pellet injuries on eye but doctors told me there is nothing to be worried,” Arsalan’s father said Bashir Ahmad Turray said.
Arshid Ahmad, 23, a resident of Sarab village in Shopian was injured of at Nikas village at Pulwama on 29 July 2016 and has had seven surgeries since.
He said he had gone there to get rice stocks for home.
“Around 150 pellets hit my body including both eyes. Despite spending Rs 10 lakhs on seven surgeries, medicines and transport charges to L V hospital of Hyderabad, my eyes didn’t heal completely,” Arshid, father of two children, told Kashmir Reader.
He added that while he is now able to recognize objects, he is still unable to work.
Arshid worked on marriage functions as a wazwan cook before his injuries.
His impoverished father, Ghulam Muhammad Dar was planning to build a new house before the incident. They have three Kanals of land, which he said, is not sufficient to fetch them two times of bread.
“Once I was helping my father to fulfill the basic family needs but now me, my wife and my two children are dependent on my elderly father.” Arshid said.