RAYEES GANIE/SHAHANA KHAN
The picturesque look, green pastures and snow capped mountains of his hometown are no more scintillating the eyes of 17 year old Irshad Ahmad. Tragically, he is struck inside the dark room of his modest house at Sheeri Baramulla of North Kashmir recounting the horror of pellets fired upon him by government forces that snatched his vision. Malla’s financially incapacitated family rues day in and day out for this unbearable tragedy which struck them last year in August after this young boy joined the massive crowd of protesters against the killing of top militant commander Burhan Muzaffer Wani with government forces in Bamdooru village of South Kashmir. The government forces used tear smoke shells, bullets and pellet guns to contain the protests. Irshad was hit by the pellets in his eyes and lost the vision,” the blind boy recounts the horror in a dark room of his house.
Today, he is undergoing the treatment along with hundreds of other pellet victims at SMHS Srinagar to regain the lost vision of his one eye. The doctors are not so positive about the full recovery of his vision but that doesn’t deter his poor mother Sara who is hopeful to see her son again walking down the local streets and becoming her support in old age.
“Today I am bearing unbearable expenses of his treatment. We have no sustainable source of income but I manage his treatment with the hope to see him seeing again,” 40 year old Sara told The Legitimate.
Sara has failed to clear the electricity dues to the state government and the connection to her home is snapped from last three months. “But there is no compromise on treatment for my son. Eve I can go to an extent to beg for his treatment”. The abject poverty back home forced Malla to give up studies at class 8th to ease the economic burden of his family. Unfortunately, for the shattered family Malla turned further burden.
Ironically, this is not an end to the saga of grief stricken Sara. Defiant by the unfortunate events Sara takes care of her ailing husband also. Her husband Ghulam-ud-Din Malla was unable to bear the shock of his son losing vision and got paralyzed on same day when young Malla was injured and undergoing treatment at SMHS.
Ghulam-ud-din was returning home in evening from his bakery shop in Uri town when he was informed about his son getting injured by pellets. “A cup of pink tea (Nun Chai) was in his hand when he heard about his son being shifted for specialized treatment at SMHS. He shivered and felt unconscious. On rushing him to hospital, it was double shock for the family when doctors declared him paralyzed from one side of his body,” says Sara.
As Sara was deeply engrossed in conversation with the The Legitimate team, Ghulam-ud-din Malla from another room made hard but all failed attempts to join us for conversation.
“Ph..Ph.. Phellet Phellet(Pellet Pellet),” he shouted from his room in his broken and unclear voice.
As this poor and weak man fell silent, Young Malla pointed us towards his medical reports and other investigations. “Look what has happened to me”, said Irshad while pointing towards a film of X- ray and Doctors remarks on medical ticket with MRD number 335729. His CT scan report on (patients copy) of discharge summary reads: “Pellet 3.8 mm deep to corneal surface medial to lateral recties. V.H partially compressing optic nerve”. “Rt. Optic nerve shows pellet fragments alone in his eye”, it reads further.
Sara appeals government to offer them some support to sustain the two meals for her family. She complains that no one turned to them in this hour of grief with any sort of support those who even spearheaded the agitation and encouraged youth to join protests turned their back towards them. We are left deserted and hurt,” she says in a grief stricken voice with tears rolling down her cheeks.
From the Print edition of march 15-21, 2017