Still in his blood-stained school uniform, Rehan Goursi occasionally opens his eyes in the neurosurgery ward of the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital in Srinagar. And every time he does that, he complains of intense pain.’
A class II student of Rainbow International School in Shopian, Rehan was injured when the school bus he was travelling in was stoned by protesters enforcing a bandh Wednesday morning. A stone hit him on the head, causing a frontal bone fracture.
As he watched his son on the hospital bed, Nooruddin Goursi, a school teacher posted in Keller Shopian, said he got a call from the school and was told to reach the hospital: “Look at him, he is still in his school uniform… When I used to see pictures of children from Myanmar and Syria, I always felt suffocated. Today, I realise fully what this pain is. I have seen my son in a pool of blood. This is not a human act. We need to keep our children away from it. We need to guard our children.”
As the bus came under attack, its driver sped away and headed straight to school. “His (Rehan’s) principal took him to hospital in his own vehicle. They also accompanied me to the hospital,” Goursi said.
At the hospital, Goursi received a call from Shopian SP Shailendra Mishra. “SP Sahib called me just now. He told me he would soon arrest the boys behind this incident. I told him I have forgiven them. How do I or you know who these people were? You will pick up somebody and blame him for it.”
Sajad Ahmad, principal of Rainbow International School who brought Rehan to Srinagar, said of the 35 buses of the school, only this was targeted. “It is inhuman and barbaric. The driver of the bus showed great presence of mind and sped away,” he said.
The Private Schools Association of Kashmir also expressed dismay over the stoning of a school bus. “We think education should be politics-neutral and treated as an essential service like ambulances,” it said.