Surrounded by relatives, Sahil Zahoor (19), admitted at Srinagar’s Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital, is fighting to save vision in his left eye.
Sahil was hit by pellets in his left eye and other body parts on Saturday during a police crackdown in the old city.
“I was returning home in the evening after playing cricket when police used pellet guns to disperse protesters. I got trapped and got hit,” said Sahil, a Class XI student. “I cannot see anything from my left eye.”
Sahil is among the growing list of pellet-gun victims in the Valley. Pellet guns are non-lethal weapons used by security forces to break up protests. In May, a Class X student in north Kashmir’s Palhallan town had suffered a serious eye injury, after pellets hit him as police tried to disperse an unruly mob. The boy is now undergoing treatment at an Amritsar hospital.
At SMHS, doctors told The Indian Express that Sahil’s left eye is badly damaged. “We have done a primary repair, but the pellet is still there in the posterior segment of the eye,” said Casualty Medical Officer at SMHS, Dr Mir Omer Farooq.
“The left eye of the boy is not functional presently,” he added. “While he is unable to see anything with his left eye right now, we are hopeful that after the surgery, he will be able to see,” said a doctor.
More surgeries, however, will cost more money and Sahil’s father, a daily labourer, said that so far he has spent Rs 15,000, and is hard pressed for money. “I am a poor man… and now here I am with my son almost blind,” said Zahoor Ahmad, Sahil’s father.
Sahil, a resident of Hawal in downtown Srinagar, is not the only pellet-victim admitted to the hospital in the past few days.
Masood Ahmad, 21, a resident of Kawdara in the old city, was injured Friday.
According to the doctors, Ahmad has pellet injuries in his right eye and shoulder.
“I was on my way back home after finishing Friday prayers. Police started firing on the stone-pelters and I was hit,” said Ahmad. Ahmad’s family members allege that police officials didn’t allow the doctors to treat the victims at the hospital on Friday.
“After the incident, the police came here and tried to take him to the police station,” said Ahmad’s father, Mohammed Sultan Mir.
“We are using the pellet guns as our last resort. Now we have authorised only police officers to use the pellet guns,” said IGP Kashmir Syed Mujtaba Gilani.