Srinagar: Fourteen-year-old Asrar Wani is battling for life at the intensive care unit of the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS). He has serious injuries on his left eye, both legs, collar bone and stomach. He is on life support.
The entire Jammu and Kashmir administerial ecosystem, from the state police to government hospital authorities, has been maintaining that there are no pellet victims and that protests, following the Modi government’s decision to scrap Article 370, have largely been peaceful.
The J&K Superintendent of Police (SP), Swayam Prakash Pani, has gone on record to say that there have been no instances of police firing in the Valley while hospital authorities all have the same response. “There are no patients with any pellet injuries here,” they say.
The hospitals also have no records of pellet victims.
But 14-year-old Wani is among five cases that ThePrint managed to trace of youngsters who have sustained serious pellet injuries Friday at a major protest in downtown Srinagar.
Pellets at Soura on Friday
Wani, like the other four victims, was on his way for the Friday prayers at Soura in downtown Srinagar when he was stopped by the forces. His attendant, who did not wish to be named, said security forces prevented the congregation of worshippers from going to offer prayers. It sparked protests in Soura, following which forces allegedly resorted to tear gas shells and pellet guns.
“He is a 14-year-old boy, who was mercilessly beaten and shot at by the forces,” says the attendant.
“His fault being that he dared to raise his voice against the atrocities of the Indian state and wanted to go and offer prayers.”
The nursing staff on duty also confirms that Wani had sustained pellet injuries. “The control room may be telling you whatever, but this boy has sustained pellet injuries on his body,” the nurse says, adding that Wani had to be admitted as he was in a critical condition.
“He is critical and was operated upon Saturday,” the nurse adds.
Asif Mohammad, a 21-year-old B.Ed student, sustained pellet injuries on his arms and legs.
“On Friday, some of us got together to go to Eidgah,” says Asif. “It was a silent, peaceful protest. But when we reached Johra, the CRPF and J&K police stopped us. When we resisted, they started beating us up and then fired.
“I have pellet injuries on my legs, feet and arms. The situation here is worsening by the day, but they do not want this news to go out,” he adds.
Inayat has a deep wound on his thigh and is unable to walk. He too was part of the same protest.
His father says he was initially admitted to SKIMS but discharged soon after dressing as the hospital did not want to keep a pellet gun victim on the premises.
“He has sustained a deep wound,” Inayat’s father, Abdul Rashid, says. “It is a pellet injury but the hospital is not ready to keep him there. They asked me to take him home after dressing.”
Two more victims did not wish to be named though ThePrint has recorded their statements on video. One of them sustained injuries on the hand and eyes while the other has just eye injuries.
Also read: Barbed wires, deserted streets & simmering anger — Srinagar laments a broken Eid promise
Victims say forcefully discharged, asked to remain indoors
While two of the pellet victims told ThePrint that they were forcefully discharged by hospital authorities and asked to remain indoors to keep their story “under wraps”, the two who did not want to be named said they left the hospital as they feared being “picked up by the CID”.
“I went to the hospital initially but after dressing I came back and now I am consulting another local doctor at a clinic here,” says Asif. “I am scared that the police may come and take me.”
He said that the police have been doing the rounds in plain clothes and have been on the look-out for people with pellet injuries. “They do not want this narrative to go out, so they are picking people up from the hospital, which is why we are staying indoors,” Asif says.
The victim who sustained a pellet injury in his eye and hand said he was “helped by staff at the hospital”.
“I was asked to leave and go and rest at home by a staff member at the hospital who cared for me. He does not want me to be arrested,” the victim says. “The hospital does not want to keep any pellet victim as they do not want the media to reach us. This is to make sure that our story does not go out.”
Heckled at the hospital
When ThePrint went to the hospital to meet the victims with the help of local residents, this reporter was not only heckled but also intimidated by authorities.
Once the authorities at the hospital found out that ThePrint has accessed details of the victims with pellet injuries, four men from the control room cornered this reporter asking her to delete the footage from the phone or face the consequences.
“Who gave you permission to enter this section? It is out of bounds for everyone,” an official from the hospital said. “Hand over your phone. These details cannot go out. We have orders from the top.”
When this reporter refused to hand over the phone, the official cornered her and called in more people. “You will not be able to go out of here,” one of them said while the others heckled.
The two local residents who had helped this reporter access the patients, however, came to the rescue and managed to get her out of the hospital.
Also read: Indian Muslims know what is going on in Kashmir only too well — their will is being broken
How much got paid by Pakistan. Selling India, this is what The Print team is doing. If stone pelted thrown stone, soldiers should be holding garlands for them. First know the difference between bullet and pellet. Stone throwers need no mercy. The Print managed to get the protests? I think, we do not need such media.
Your report is very very dumb, to say the least. Yes, NOT a bullet has been fired and that is correct. If your reporter is stupidly ignorant, and does not know the difference between a bullet and a pellet. (as reported) you will keep reporting such non-sense. Try and avoid that if in your wisdom (which is doubtful for a biased mind) you can help.
Apparently your perspective is limited to sensationalize the whole issue. Even though it appears to be putting reality on record. But, if Asif Mohammed and his bundle of black guard friends decide to take law in hand . . . peacefully to start with, those scoundrels can not fool the experienced officials who are there to keep peace. Even a child would know that bombs explode with a small fuse, which is just a peaceful sparkler. My, my! For heavens’ sake apply your mind to what you are repeatedly sending to our homes surreptitiously. For I never asked for that kind of rubbish to be sent to me all the time..
For a moment , I thought , I’m reading Pakistani propaganda. I am really scared from these paid Anti national journalists . Our soldiers are shedding blood and these traitors are towing Jihadi propaganda .
Serves these Kashmiris right. They should be happy that the forces are using pellet guns a d not real bullets. I have been to Kashmir many times, right from 1995 to last year. I assure you that this is the most ungrateful, lazy over subsidized community in Bharat. If they even raise an eyelid they should be put down.
Apparently in Aurangzeb’s time, if you are a Hindu riding on a horse in Delhi, you need to get down and bow your head if a Muslim comes. Sometimes i think, so many Hindus want to be Dhimmi slaves.
How much they work hard to ensure victory of Islamic Jihad? So sad. Especially in the media.
Kashmir Jihad is just that. Jihad.
Well said !
In a parallel universe where Kashmir acceded to Pakistan, kashmiri language and culture were overtaken by Punjabi Muslims, who after slaughtering millions of them, invited the Chinese to takeover the land for better infrastructure creation.
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