On October 9, three months after protests broke out in the Valley following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, 35-year-old Mohammed Ehsan became the 1,000th person to sustain pellet injuries to the eye. As many as 820 of those 1,000 have undergone treatment at the Ophthalmology unit of Srinagar’s Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital.
Ehsan was hit in the right eye during protests in Srinagar’s Soura area. Doctors said he would require multiple surgeries, but will not regain complete vision. According to SMHS hospital records, of the 820 admitted with eye injuries, at least 80 per cent were aged 26 or less. More than 30 were aged 15 or less.
According to records, 457 people had “multiple structural damage” in the eyes and required a vitrectomy and more than two surgeries. Doctors said 14 eyes had to be “eviscerated”, while 44 patients suffered injuries to both eyes. Head of SMHS’s Ophthalmology department, Dr Tariq Qureshi, said five wards have been designated to handle the rush of patients. Srinagar’s SKIMS Medical College has seen 131 such injuries since July 9.