Updated: March 28, 2017 12:48:23 pm
AFTER an inspection on Thursday of patients with eye injuries caused by pellet guns, at the Sri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital in Srinagar, Sudarshan Khokhar, an ophthalmologist from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), said: “Violence is not an option. It (pellet guns) shouldn’t be used here or anywhere.”
Khokhar, who was heading a three-member team that reached Srinagar last night to treat protesters with pellet wounds, was responding to a question on his views about the use of such guns.
Asked about his inspection, Khokhar said, “I have been in a hospital (AIIMS) for 30 years, we have never seen so many in one group together.”
Khokhar and his team had been sent by the Centre following a request from J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
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On Thursday, the SMHS received three more patients from north Kashmir’s Sopore town with severe eye injuries caused by pellets. By evening, ophthalmologists at the hospital had operated on at least 103 such patients with injuries sustained in protests in the wake of militant Burhan Wani’s killing last Friday. Doctors say the total number of those injured in the eyes by pellets since then had reached 123.
Responding to another question, this time from Qaisar Ahmad, principal, Government Medical College Srinagar, on whether he had witnessed such injuries before, Khokhar said he had not “in a long time”. “… but yes, during wartime, I think you will get such injuries.”
The AIIMS team returned to Delhi in the evening.
Earlier, Khokhar told authorities that the injuries will need a long time to heal. “Over a period, we will conduct surgeries step by step,” he said.
Hailing the SMHS doctors for doing a “commendable job” during the last five days, Khokhar said some of the seriously injured needed early follow-up while others could come after weeks.
Pellet guns were introduced by J&K police in 2010 as “non-lethal weapon” to use against protesters.
Speaking to reporters, Khokhar said, “They are young people and there are injuries to their eyes. There is damage to retina and lens.we will have to wait and watch.”
On the chances of victims regaining their vision,Khokhar said: “Ten years ago, all such retinas couldn’t be repaired. Now, with the latest technology, I think retinas can be repaired, we have to wait and watch.”
About the Health Ministry’s plan to airlift the severely injured to AIIMS in Delhi, Khokhar said, “We have an open invitation for the patients in case they want to come. We can always block a room for them. There is no need right now (to airlift the patients).”
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