Srinagar: A five-year-old girl stands out from the dozens of injured persons, who have suffered bullet and pellet wounds at the hands of government forces, at the SMHS Hospital.
Zohra Majeed has suffered pellet wounds in legs and abdomen.
Her family says the men in uniform showered pellets on her and some other members of the family on Sunday night.
“It was around 11:30 pm when the incident happened near our residence at Qamarwari here,” said Zohra’s younger sister Sobiya Wani, lying on a bed adjacent to Zohra in the newly-established Traumatology Ward. Sobiya too has suffered pellet wounds in her left leg.
Sobiya said that they were taking one of their sisters, who had developed some allergy, to the hospital in a car when policemen “appeared out of nowhere and showered pellets on the family”.
“We raised hue and cry which attracted the attention of our neighbors who stopped an ambulance going from the area and rushed us here (SMHS) while my father, due to severe pellet wounds, has been admitted to the SKIMS (a tertiary care hospital),” she said.
Zohra, attended to by her aunt, offers snacks to people, mostly the attendants accompanying scores of injured persons admitted in the wards.
“Zohra will give snacks to all but the moment you touch that bottle (soft drink in her hands) she is hard to console,” the aunt said, tears welling up her eyes.
“What was their fault,” she said.
“Look at that boy, he has bullet in his thigh,” she said, pointing to Basit Aijaz, a 14-year-old boy from Shopian who was admitted to the same ward on the same day, July 10.
Basit, according to one of his attendants, had come to Nilaw, Kulgam, where people were offering funeral prayers for Muzaffar, one of the protesters shot dead during a post-Burhan-killing protest.
“We rushed him to nearby hospital from where he was referred to Srinagar. We were stopped at a few places by police and CRPF but we kept on telling them that he (Basit) has suffered injuries in accident. Otherwise they would not have let us come here,” the attendant said.
While Basit reached hospital almost smoothly, other patients admitted to the ward were nearly “lynched”.
“I was accompanying my brother who was referred along with four others injured by doctors at health centre Rajpora when CRPF stopped our ambulance near Belaw and asked us (five attendants) to come out it,” said Nazir Ahmad Wani, admitted for “chest trauma due to physical assault” in the ward.
“They asked us to lie-down on the street and then they (CRPF personnel) brought some big poplar sticks from nearby and started beating us. They then started to trample us with their feet as they kept on yelling choicest of invectives,” he said.
They, he said, let them after the injured pleaded from inside the ambulance to allow them return to Rajpora.
“We too were admitted to the health centre and we took a different route after being referred to Srinagar along with those who were already referred for specialized treatment,” he said.
Wani’s younger brother, Adil Ahsan and four other injured were admitted to ward-7 and are being treated for severe eye-injury due to pellets.
“We were nearly lynched, it was a narrow escape,” said Suhail Ahmad, who is admitted along with Nazir in the same ward.
Another patient, Showkat Ahmad, said he was returning home after offering funeral of a person who was killed in police firing.
“There were no protests when police resorted to firing merely because large number of people had assembled there,” Ahmad, 24, said. He has suffered firearm injury.
“When we found him in a pool of blood along with another injured, we rushed them to nearby hospital from where he was rushed to Srinagar. Near Bijbhera, police and CRPF did not allow us to move towards Srinagar and started beating us. We pushed them away and took a detour for Srinagar,” said one of the many persons attending to Showkat.
According to the hospital administration, the operations theatres (OTs) were running non-stop with about 70 doctors manning the five theatres in the trauma unit working since the first causalities started to arrive at 10 am on Saturday.