At least 92 Kashmiri youth have been operated upon in the hospital here with eye injuries due to pellet firing by the forces amid the clashes, and three men have lost their vision so far, doctors said on Monday.
“We have already operated on 92 patients. Every hour, more young men arrive with pellet injuries to the eyes. We are overburdened,” said Dr Sajjad Khanday, an ophthalmologist.
Ahmad said among those who received pellet injuries in the eyes are three girls, including a nine-year-old.
Saniya Aashiq, 9, is lying on a bed at the Opthalmology ward after getting hit by pellets in the on-going clashes between protesters and forces. The doctors said Saniya might lose her vision partially.
Inside the ward are dozens of youth who have suffered pellet injuries in clashes following the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani in South Kashmir on Friday.
When Saniya was being shifted to the hospital, her mother was hit by a stone on her left chest amid the clashes. “Saniya was operated upon on Sunday. The doctor said she might be partially blind forever,” Aashiq, her father said.
As per the state government, the pellet gun is a “non-lethal” weapon and is used to disperse mobs.
“Of the patients we received with pellet injuries in the eyes, 80 per cent of the youth might become partially blinded as they are seriously injured,” a doctor said on condition of anonymity.
Touseef, 12, who was hit with pellets during clashes at his native town Islamabad, in restive South Kashmir can barely speak. “We are not sure if he will be ever able to see,” his father Mohammad Ismail said.
“My son was among the protesters who were raising slogans for Burhan. What wrong did he do? Everyone mourned his death,” he added.
Inside the ward, besides the patients, attendants and medical staff are volunteers who are helping to tend to the patients. “We have seen so much distress since 48 hours that we have forgotten the outside world,” Imaad, a volunteer said.
“The hospital receives a new admission every 30 minutes. Many of the injuries are fatal as most of the bullets have hit either the head or the chest,” another doctor said.