In Pellet Deluge

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Orphaned as a child, he helped his sisters settle. As he raised his family, the floods decimated his home. Then the labourer started dreaming about reconstructing his home but cops fired pellets reducing him literally crippled to the extent that the family is fighting hunger, reports Saqib Mir

Mushtaq-Ahmad-Nath, the pellet hit victim who was fighting to rebuild his flood devastated home. Now lives in a tin shed.

In Nathpur, not far away from Khanabal lives Mushtaq Ahmad Nath, 26, with his wife and their two small children. Occasionally, Nath is seen walking lamely with a crutch’s support to his home.

For more than a year now, Nath has not worn the shoe on his right foot. Instead, he wraps it with polythene bags over a sock. A labourer, Nath was coming to his rented room, when Shazia, his wife, intercepted him asking to get their son from the street. Clashes were going on and a nervous father started locating his son, Inayat.

“When I reached near the Mohalla mosque, police grabbed me and fired a full cartridge of pellets into my right leg,” Nath said, still shivering while recalling his memories. “Then, they thrashed me and thrust a gun barrel into my wound into my right butt.”.

Tragically, Nath sees it as his misfortune. He says he confronted various “big troubles” in his life. Nath was a child when his parents passed away. Lone son of his parents, he helped his sisters who are settled now. Now when he was settling his own home, and raising a family, the September 2014 floods devastated it.

Nath shared the house with his two uncles. Post-floods, the uncles shifted to their newly constructed houses leaving Nath in the flood-damaged house. Finding it difficult to live in, rented a room. He planned to earn and reconstructing a home but that is just a dream, a pipe dream, he says.

It was September 2016, that changed everything. “When I reached near a mosque, cops mistook me as the person who was shouting slogans from on the mosque mike,” Nath believes. “They grabbed me and almost destroyed my life.”

Nath was lying on a road in a pool of blood when residents arranged a vehicle and drove him to the hospital. He underwent a quick surgery and after four days in the district hospital, he was shifted to SKIMS Srinagar for advanced treatment. “The doctors at SKIMS told me that the pellets have damaged the nerves of my right foot and nothing can be said about the recovery,” Nath said. Then they sent him home.

Nath was basically a labourer but sometimes he would work as a truck conductor as well. Disabled, now he rarely moves out of his home.

“From the day the cops fired pellets at me, I often get intense pain in my leg,” Nath said. “I want to cry but that can shatter my family so put some cloth in my mouth and would chew that, still it subsides.” Nath cried while revealing this. Tears were trickling down his cheeks for most of the conversation.

After floods, he had received Rs 33,000 compensation. “All this money and whatever he had earned in these years, we spent it all on his treatment,” Shazia said. When the family friends and the locality residents realised the couple was going through rough times, they started helping them.

“When my friends realised that we are not in a position to pay rent for the room, they constructed a shed made of tin sheets,” Nath said. It came up at the same place where Nath wanted to construct the house for his wife and kids. Thoughts about the future of the family, especially the two kids, one already in lower Kindergarten, is giving him pain especially if his foot does not recover. “I do not know if we can survive the chill of the winter in a tin-shed. My leg pains more as temperature goes down.”

They have another grave crisis. Shazia said there was a possibility of seeking help. “But he is not even in that position to go from one place to another,” she said.

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