#Day34: Pellet Tales From Kupwara

Zafar Aafaq

SRINAGAR

Adnan Ahmad Ganaie
Adnan Ahmad Ganaie

Manzoor Ahmad Mir, 31, is bed ridden in ward-9 at Srinagar’s SMHS Hospital.

His right eye is injured as lead pellets have pierced its delicate covering. He was hit with pellets on last Sunday evening (August 07, 2016) in Langate when there were intense clashes between forces and protestors.

According to Manzoor, there were peaceful protests going in the area.

“The protests turned violent when forces manning the area fired tear gas shells and pellet shots on the protestors,” he said.

Manzoor, unmarried, works as a fruit trader. He has to feed five children of his mentally ill brother. “My brother was tortured by army some years back and since then he is mentally unsound,” said Manzoor.

That Friday, at least 92 persons were injured and treated in the local health centres. Five of them were shifted to Srinagar, of whom three came on their own. They were hit by pellets.

One of the pellet victims in these clashes is Adnan Ahmad Ganaie, 20, who lies on a bed in ward-8 in the hospital which is loaded with pellet victims carrying eye injuries.

Adnan’s condition is extremely gruesome. The marks of pellets are imprinted all over his body above abdomen.

The eyes, behind the black goggles, that are waiting for second surgery are swollen. Some of the pellets have hit his tongue, as well. He can barely utter a word.

His uncle who is attending him said, “at around 1 PM, a group of boys asked the police to lift curfew from the area, however, they fired teargas shells and pellets on them.”

Celebrities with photoshopped pelleted faces.
Celebrities with photoshopped pelleted faces.

When Adnan was injured, “the forces did not initially allow us to pick him up as he was lying on the road”, he said.

The clashes provoked others to come out from their homes and there was a huge protest rally. “There were announcements on loudspeakers in Masjids and people came out from homes with axes and lathis.

“Seeing such a huge rally of protestors, the police and paramilitary men, sought help from army men stationed in the area,” said Adnan’s uncle.

“When forces unleashed the force on the protestors, I saw a small boy injured on the road,” Manzoor said.

He could not bear the cries of the boy and requested a policeman to allow him to pick him up. However, the policeman aimed the buckshot gun at him. “I pleaded with the cop not to target my face, but soon I felt pain in my right eye and I don’t know what happened thereafter.”

Manzoor’s attendant, who did not wish to be named, alleged that the army and police men “looted” shops and wreaked havoc in the area. “The army provoked the people to come out from homes with axes.”

Ayan Lone (name changed) frequently removes goggles from his eyes to let the breeze sooth his pellet hit right eye. “The goggles are inducing itching on my eyes.”

Ayan was hit with pellets on last Friday evening (August 05, 2016) in Kralpora Kupwara when forces fired tear gas and pellets on protestors.

After Friday prayers were over, there was huge pro-freedom rally in the town.

People had poured in from far off villages like Kachhama, Dardpora, Meeliyal, Aaloosa.  “There were more than ten thousand people participating in rally,” Ayan said lying ine one SHMS Hospital ward here.

He said that police fired teargas shells on the protestors which lead to stone pelting. “Thereafter they started firing pellets on the protestors in which many civilians got seriously injured.”

The clashes lasted for hours together.

“In the evening, the forces barged into the neighbourhoods of the town and started beating women and broke glasses of Masjid and stole its water motor,” Ayan continued, “which provoked the youth to come out and protest.”

Ayan chased down bullet proof vehicle of forces to snatch back the motor. In pursuit of motor, he had to face the pellets.

“Initially, I could not feel that I was hit and when I lowered to pick up the stone, I found that blood was oozing out from my right eye.” He was assisted by his friends to reach the hospital where some of the pellets stuck in his skin where removed. The doctors at hospital referred him to Kupwara hospital wherefrom he was rushed to Srinagar.

“When the ambulance reached main Kralpora market, the cops who were already there, barged into the ambulance and started beating everyone including the injured,” Ayan’s attendant said. “They damaged the ambulance as well and shattered window panes.”

At Kupwara hospital, the doctors referred Ayan to Srinagar for treatment of eye injury. Once at SMHS, he was immediately operated upon.

He is expecting to be normal soon to fly to mainland India to complete his studies.

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