SRINAGAR: A day after a “stray bullet” killed a young homemaker battling her own problems; it was a photograph that brought lot of attention towards Kashmir. The photograph showed the 11 months old baby with a milk-feeder in the lap of her mourning uncle, the Mamu.

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The 11 months old baby with the feeder in her uncle’s lap. Her mother was killed by a “stray bullet” in Batmurran village of Shopian during the encounter between militants and the counter-insurgent forces on December 19, 2017. Photograph: Tauseef Mustafa (AFP)

The homemaker, Ruby (some say Rubina) , who was much known as Beauty Jan, was killed at her father’s Batmurran village where a mixed column of army, police and CRPF killed two Jaish-e-Muhammad militants on Tuesday. She was at a distance from the spot of the clash, in which three homes went up in flames, on a veranda where she was hit in the abdomen. Hospital declared her brought dead as soon as she reached for medical aid.

It was the Kashmir cleric and separatist leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq who pushed the photograph into the social media. “Infants losing young mothers to operation “All Out” !”, Mirwaiz, who has 83 thousand followers on the micro-bologging site, wrote. “…while those in India and world over claiming to stand up for safeguarding human values and rights callously unconcerned and mute!”

Tauseef Mustafa (AFP)

Soon others followed. The prominent was the leftist student activist Shehla Rashid. “This baby doesn’t even know that her young mother is dead!!”, Rashid wrote. “Shudder to think of the plight of ordinary Kashmiris who are paying the price of living amid the unresolved conflict, with no hopes of a peaceful and dignified resolution. RIP Rubeena.”

Off late, in Kashmir, some photographs have started defining the events that takes place so often. Today’s picture was yet another credit to Tauseef Mustafa, a celebrated AFP photographer who clicked it. Back from Bangladesh, where he was covering the Rohingya tragedy, Tauseef said as the locals at Batmurran said the slain lady was a suckling mother; I made efforts to trace the child. “It was then that I detected her in the lap of a mourning young man,” Tauseef told Kashmir Life. “As the photograph speaks, it shows the complete disconnect between the baby’s world and the situation around.”

The slain lady was fighting her own battle. She was running some problems with her husband, who lives in Rajpora. With the lady dead, everything is now forgotten. Her in-laws came in hoards to see her getting buried Tuesday afternoon. But her husband could reach Batmurran on Wednesday and is still there, locals told Kashmir Life.

The village continued a massive rush of the mourners. The villagers have started raising donations for helping the three families of whom, two are said to be not in better economic condition otherwise. Mohammad Yaquob, one of the three house owners, is a government employee and has shifted to the home of his daughter, who is married in the same village.

Kashmir remained on protest strike against the civilian killings. It was sponsored by the separatist leaders, now known as Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL). Traffic, business and educational activities remained seriously impacted though the government functioned with limited staff.

But part of the Batmurran has been living in SMHS hospital for the last 24 hours. More than a dozen people including three bullet hit are admitted to various hospitals in Srinagar. These include eight with pellet injuries to their eyes.

“All these eight persons are admitted to the hospital,” medical superintendent SMHS told Kashmir Life. “They have an injury in one of their eyes.” The doctor said they are under observation and it was too early to offer any idea whether or not there eyesight in their damaged eyes would require or not.

A woman attempting crossover through a thick concertina wire barrier that police used to prevent,movement in parts of Srinagar city on December 20, 2017 when separatists called for a strike against the civilian killings in recent days. Kl Image: Bilal Bahadur

In a tragic turn of events, a newspaper report said when a tenth standard student Shahid was hit by the pellet and evacuated to hospital, his uncle rushed to see his nephew and met an accident. Now they occupy two rooms in the same hospital. The newspaper said that the pellet injured from Pulwama and Shopian are 11 and in most of the cases, the damage is irreversible.

Most of the injuries were first reported to the district hospital at Pulwama. “We got 24 persons including four with bullet injuries,” a senior hospital manager said. “We had 11 males with pellet injury in their eyes and those who have non-perforating injuries were locally managed and rest were referred to SMHS.” A senior doctor in the hospital said in four cases the “perforating eye injuries” are very serious.”


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