Srinagar: Zahid Majeed Lone does not yet know that his brother Irshad was killed yesterday in the army firing that took place in his village, Havoora, in Kulgam district. He was himself shot in the legs by army soldiers and is lying in Srinagar’s Bone and Joint Hospital. Doctors say he has multiple fractures and has suffered serious nerve damage.
He does, however, remember clearly the events of Saturday morning, when army soldiers entered his village and, soon after, began firing bullets at unarmed civilians.
“First, I was hit by a bullet in my left leg. As I was knocked down, the soldiers came near me and fired three more bullets into my right leg,” he told Kashmir Reader.
Zahid said that after firing multiple bullets into his leg, the soldiers hit him with gun butts. Then they dragged him through the village fields.
“One of the army men was about to kill me when a group of youths chased them away,” he said.
According to him, the soldiers fired bullets “indiscriminately” at people who had gathered following a “crackdown” in a nearby village.
“Army was targeting protestors to kill. They fired at people from all directions. Many civilians ran away and took refuge in nearby fields and orchards,” he said.
Zahid said he was standing near his home when, after concluding the crackdown in nearby Redwani village, army soldiers came to Havoora and opened fire at civilians.
Doctors at Bone and Joint Hospital said that Zahid had suffered serious damage to his right leg. “The bullet has shattered his Tibia and Fibula bones and caused laceration of the soft tissues,” they said.
“There was huge blood loss due to the injuries. He was lucky to survive after efforts put in by the doctors at emergency,” a resident doctor added.
Zahid’s cousin, Imtiyaz Ahmad Wani, said that the army soldiers had blocked exits from Redwani and Hawoora villages to prevent people from carrying the injured to hospital.
“We lost several hours before shifting him to Srinagar as the army had laid barricades,” Imtiyaz said.
The army has said that it is investigating Saturday’s incident at Havoora village, though an army statement said that the soldiers exercised great “restraint” after being attacked by a “menacing mob of 400-500 persons”.