A 6th standard student and a barber are among over a dozen youth admitted at SMHS Hospital after they were hit by pellets Thursday and Friday.
Withering in pain, Shahid Nazir Wani, a 12-year-old D K Pora Shopian resident has become the fresh pellet victim.
He was hit by a pellet in the left eye when he was near Ratnipora gunfight site on Friday in which two militants were killed.
“I was sitting at a hillock with two friends. Away from us, some residents were engaged in clashes. Meanwhile, I was hit while the others escaped,” said Shahid, a 6th standard student of Noor-ul-Huda Hanfia Institute, D K Pora.
Traumatized and shocked, Shahid said he was hit despite not being part of any protest.
His left eyeball has turned red and he is not able to see.
“My left side is dark. I am not able to see anything. I want to go to school and study,” Shahid told Rising Kashmir at SMHS Hospital. “How can I read now? Why am I in the hospital?”
He said his mother, suffering from kidney ailment, was admitted at a private hospital in Pulwama, and he had not seen him after he was hit.
Nadeem Hajam, 25, of Bandi Payeen village in Kandi Baramulla is another victim of the lethal pellets.
He was hit by multiple pellets on Thursday at his village during a gunfight.
Hajam, who runs a hair salon, has become the first pellet victim from his village.
“I was tending to a customer when the clashes erupted suddenly. I started pulling down the shutters of my shop when I was hit,” he said.
His family is not sure whether he would regain vision or not.
Hajam has pellet injuries all over his face.
He calls his friend, who asks him about his recovery, and he breaks down as his married sister accompanies his friend in the ward.
“One pellet has hit my teeth, which left me in more pain than the eye,” Hajam said.
In the ophthalmology ward, anger is visible on the faces of both the pellet victims.
Inayat Azad Thoker, a resident of Padso Shopian, was also hit by pellets at Ratnipora Pulwama in both the eyes.
He has pellets injuries all over his face.
“He is not able to see anything. We have to accompany him everywhere. His both eyes have swollen,” his maternal uncle, Farooq Ahmad said.
“At Ratnipora, there was a gathering and all of a sudden there were clashes and he was targeted as forces fired indiscriminate pellets,” Ahmad said.
Thoker, a 10th standard student, was scheduled to appear in examination on Sunday but he missed the exam.
Thoker’s father was killed in the firing by the government forces during the 2016 uprising.
Doctors at the hospital said on Friday SMHS received 16 pellet-hit youth, most of them hit in eyes.
“All of them have been hit in their eyes. Most of them are from Shopian district. Few of them were discharged today (Saturday) while others are being treated,” said a doctor at the hospital.
In September 2017, rights body Amnesty International released a report on the impact of pellet guns that had noted horrific damage caused by pellets in eyes.
The AI report had then presented photographs of 88 victims who had lost sight between 2014 and 2017.
Over the continuous use of pellet gun, Director General of Police (DGP), Dilbagh Singh said they were trying to minimize the use of pellets during public protests saying that the men on the ground decide it.
“The men on the ground would only decide what measure of force to be used. If there is no need of using force, it won’t be used,” he said.
Authorities say that the pellet shotguns are non-lethal but the injuries caused by the weapon bear testimony to how dangerous it is.
In 2010, pellet guns were introduced in the Valley to help control violent mobs but proved devastating.
Since then these guns have snatched the vision of many youth.