Kashmiri teen Asrar Wani who died last week
Kashmiri teen Asrar Wani died of his injuries on 3 September | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
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Srinagar: Seventeen-year-old Asrar Wani was an aspiring doctor, a class-topper and the ‘Virat Kohli’ of his neighbourhood. But last week, he died at the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) in Srinagar due to injuries suffered in a shell blast a month ago, according to the death certificate accessed by ThePrint.

Last week, Munir Khan, the additional director general of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, had said Asrar died of “not a shell but stone injury”. But the death certificate states the cause of death as “pellet injury with shell blast injury with severe traumatic brain injury (operated for L decompressive craniectomy)”.

The medical report detailing the cause of Asrar's death | Ananya Bhardwaj | ThePrint
The medical report detailing the cause of Asrar’s death | Praveen Jain | ThePrint

Asked again about the cause of death, ADGP Khan said the medical opinion seems “ambiguous” and will be investigated.

“The initial admission card of Asrar mentions that it was a pellet/blast/shell injury. Now this death/cause of death certificate says it was death caused due to shell blast. One should understand that when a tear gas shell is lobbed, it bursts in the air and releases smoke. It is not a grenade that it will blast on someone’s head or can be targeted or aimed at someone,” Khan said.

“An investigation is being carried out into the death of this boy, and this report also will be looked into. The doctors will be called to clarify and give details of the injuries. There will be a proper questionnaire that will be given to them. Let us not jump to conclusions.”

ThePrint had first reported the case of Asrar on 14 August, based on conversations with attendants and nursing staff at the SKIMS.

Cousin’s eyewitness account

At around 5 pm on 6 August, Asrar was playing cricket at a ground next to his house in Ellahi Bagh near Soura. The ball crossed the boundary and Asrar reached the 90-foot road, where a CRPF convoy was crossing.

Asrar’s cousin Adil, who was playing with him at the time, alleged that since there were around 60-70 boys in the ground — some playing cricket, some busy with a game of carom — the force started making announcements that a curfew had been imposed and people should disperse.

He alleged that the CRPF then started shooting pellets at the youth and Asrar, who had gone to pick up the ball, got caught in the firing.

“He just went out to pick up the ball when the CRPF lobbed a tear gas shell and his eyes started to burn. He could not run and he sat there on the road. Then the force started shooting pellets and a series of them hit his face,” Adil said.

“I tried to lift him and drag him to a corner, but another shell came and hit his head. He started to bleed. We then rushed him to the hospital on a bike.”

Adil said Asrar had never been involved in any stone-pelting case. ThePrint verified this with the local police and found that Asrar had no record of stone pelting.


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School topper, didn’t care about Article 370

Asrar had scored 9 point grade out of 10 (equivalent to 90 per cent) in his Class 10, with full 100 marks in both science and maths.

Holding out his marksheet, Asrar’s mother asked: “Does this look like the marksheet of a stone-pelter? He just concentrated on his studies, played cricket and Kashmiri music. He loved Indian cricketers, especially Virat Kohli. He had no business picking up a stone and did not care about any political development, including the lifting of Article 370.

Asrar's mother holding up his certificates and marksheets
Asrar’s mother holding up his certificates and marksheets | Praveen Jain | ThePrint

“He was a meritorious student at Kashmir Harvard School. We could not afford the fees, but still managed somehow because we knew he would make a big name. But he was brutally murdered,” she added. “If they wanted to hit him with a pellet, they should have hit him in the leg. Why his face and head?”

Asrar’s 11-year-old brother butted into the conversation at this point. “He had Virat’s screensaver on his phone. Here, no one could say anything against Virat even after he lost the World Cup. He wanted to be like him, and was called ‘mohalle ka Virat’,” he said.

Asrar’s exploits in a school T20 match against DPS, Srinagar, were covered in newspapers. “I cannot forget my boy’s face pierced with pellets, his head bleeding after a shell hit him. And then the police are shameless to say he did not die of shells and pellets. Is this medical report also a lie?” said father Firdous Ahmad Khan.

Asrar's father Firdous Ahmad Khan
Asrar’s father Firdous Ahmad Khan holds up his death certificate | Praveen Jain | ThePrint

“The force (CRPF) was on its way to its base, when it fired pellets to disperse the crowd in the ground. My innocent boy just got caught in that.”

A teacher who had taught Asrar since class 8 also vouched for his excellence. “He was extremely bright; a student who always aimed at scoring high. In his class 8 and 9 as well, he scored 90 per cent, which was the highest in the school,” the teacher said.


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Spoke to uncle for an hour before slipping into coma

Irfan Khan, Asrar’s uncle who rushed him to hospital after he was hit, said he was in his senses even an hour after sustaining the injuries.

“I asked him why he did not run and hide his face when the force lobbed tear gas shells and pellets. He said he couldn’t see anything as his eyes started to burn and he sat on the ground feeling helpless,” the uncle said.

“Will a stone-pelter not know how to react at a time like this? Will a stone-pelter sit on the ground to be hit by pellets?”

Khan said Asrar did not realise where the pellets came from. “He was bleeding profusely, but he asked me if his face was OK. He could feel the pellets on his face,” he said. “I told him he will be fine and that his face was fine and there was nothing to worry.”

Showing Asrar’s CT scan report, Khan said he had sustained a pellet injury in his brain, which led to a clot, and the doctors told him that he will have to be operated upon.

“After he was admitted, the doctors first put him on glucose, and then did his tests, including a CT scan. The scan showed a pellet in a section of his brain and they said it will have to be operated upon. One surgery was conducted and then he was put on a ventilator,” Khan said.


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‘Held my hand, bit his tongue’

Last Monday, Asrar’s condition started deteriorating. The doctors called his father and uncle and told them he will have to be operated upon again.

“On Monday, the doctor told us that due to the pellet in his brain, there was water accumulating, and he was not in his senses because of that water,” Khan said.

According to Khan, the doctors scheduled a surgery for 4 pm that day and also allowed him inside the operation theatre.

“As the doctors were preparing for the operation, Asrar’s pulse dipped and they all panicked. The doctor said that his heart beat has slipped. They then gave him two shocks and revived his heart beat,” Khan said.

Due to this complication, the doctors then decided to wait for Asrar’s condition to get stable.

“He was brought back from the operation theatre as his condition was not stable for a surgery. The doctor told me that I should hold his hand tightly and sit beside him,” Khan said.

“Only some time had passed that Asrar tightened his grip on my hand. I thought he is becoming conscious but what I witnessed next, I will never forget. Asrar held my hand tight. His eyes were closed. He bit his tongue hard between his teeth and then his grip loosened. He passed away.”


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11 Comments Share Your Views

11 COMMENTS

  1. If he was innocent, it is extremely unfortunate, but it is rather strange that prohibitory orders were notified if young people were only playing Cricket and Carrom. The authorities are unlikely to have objected to youngsters only playing. Why would they? Frankly, there seems to be the familiar propaganda underway against the authorities. By and large people in Kashmir have realized how they were misled by agent provocateurs based in Pakistan and certain “leaders” in Srinagar. The old game of lies and calumny has run out of gas. Pakistan is a laughing stock worldwide. Kashmiris know well which side their bread is buttered. Journalists like the one who penned this story should exhibit some sense of responsibility and value for Truth. Thank you.

  2. Even if a 14/15/16/17 year old is a stone pelter, do you blind and kill him with pellets? Where does it put us as humans?

    We sympathize with children when ISIS uses them as soldiers and talk about rehabilitating them, but don’t show the same sympathy when it comes to minor Kashmiri stone pelters. Why? Instead of killing or hurting them, shouldn’t we try to counsel them? Show them the right way? Try to erase the radicalization they have gone through? Try to include them in the society again? Certainly they are not hard-blooded terrorists.

  3. Point remained the same, why was class topper going against the law. Should this not be construed as there is a systemic problem of jihadi mindset, who do not consider secular law as their law.
    By the way shah faesal is topper of one exam who is considered as most toughest one, now see what kind of speech he is making. These may be empirical case to prove that jihadi mindset can pop up in a studious mind as well. Thus we must give weights to commitment to nation in our educational sysytem.

    • Do you have any semblance of humanity left in you or have you been blinded by your blind hatred of muslims. What are young kids supposed to do when there is curfew and restriction on movement for days together. He was just playing cricket. Pray to God that you and your family/children have to go through the same kind of situations once in your life so that you could feel the pain that we feel.

  4. Reading this story hurts my heart and if true I hang my head in shame. Problem is we no longer know what to believe, on one hand we hear of curfew, but then how are they playing cricket? This confusion is due to the restrictions, the press must be allowed to report freely! If we say Kashmir is an integral part and Kashmiris are our brothers and sisters then we cannot allow this to happen.

  5. We must, for a moment, stop and ask ourselves why a seventeen year old kid, good at studies and brilliant, die? Who will take the responsibility for this? Why don’t you publish my comment? What is the problem?

  6. We must, for a moment, stop and ask ourselves why a seventeen year old kid, good at studies and brilliant, die? Who will take the responsibility for this?

  7. What you want to say by publishing this article when terrorists killed thousand people and supported by stone pelters then security forces will take action against these people after all security forces are fighting for integrity of country .

    • What would you say if the same thing happened in another state in India? I’m sorry but this is shameful! Such extreme force is not acceptable, its a battle of hearts and minds which we are losing. Such things only play right into the hands of extremists and the neighboring country supporting them.

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