Irfan Tramboo

Pellet fury: Hope to see again is all that pellet victims visualize 

Pellet fury: Hope to see again is all that pellet victims visualize 
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Srinagar: Scenes inside ward number 8 of Shri Maharana Hari Singh (SMSH) Hospital, in Srinagar are horrifying, soul numbing, with most of the patients lying in their beds, wearing black goggles. These all are the victims of deadly pellets that were showered on them when clashes erupted in Khudwani area of Kulgam on Wednesday.

This time around, there is no moaning, as the pain seems to have subsided. What seems to be dominant in the ward is the darkness behind these black goggles as the eyes they cover have lost the capability to see. The temporary darkness of black goggles shading their injured eyes, and nothing more.

One among these patients is Bilal Ahmad Hajam (28) a resident of Khudwani area. Like others, he too is wearing black goggles, a brown Pheran, while he is lying in his bed, motionless and still.

Bilal, a painter by profession was hit by a pellet in his right eye out of nowhere. Later, he found out that it was dark all of a sudden. Partially dark, not knowing that his right was has lost sight forever.

Sitting beside him is Yawar Ahmad Hajam (22), Bilal’s younger brother. Occasionally falling asleep depicts that he has not been getting enough sleep during the night while taking care of his brother inside the ward, where usually one forgets to sleep because of deafening screams of those in pain.

“I don’t know when he was actually hit by pellets, someone from our neighbourhood informed me that my brother was injured,” says Yawar.

Initially, Bilal was taken to SDH Anantnag, where after preliminary examination, he was referred to Srinagar for further treatment.

“The fragment of pellet has sneaked deep into his eyeball, and they say that it is still there,” says Yawar while looking at his brother.

The tragedy at Khudwani seems to have hit only poor, and especially those who were about to get married, or were just married—a tiny share of happiness have been snatched from couples. Something of same sort has happened with Bilal—he falls in ‘just married’ category.

Bilal was married only 3 months ago, as Yawar said that his wife stands devastated, as life, instead of giving them a chance to spend some moments of happiness, plunged the couple into the dungeons of darkness, where it will take time for them to recover.

“It is not like that only Bilal has lost his eye sight. They (his wife included) both are blind now. I can see that on the face of his wife, she seems helpless, struggling to even move- like my brother is doing,” says Yawar with teary eyes.

Doctors attending Bilal at SHMS are saying that his injury is grave and may have to undergo surgery within days.

“We have put him on some treatment, we are monitoring his condition, if it seems that he needs a surgery, will do that too,” says a doctor attending the patients at ward 8.

Back home, Bilal is having a family of four members that includes his parents, his wife, a young brother (Yawar) and a sister. So far, Bilal’s father does not know what has actually happened to his son, because he is away working at a brick kiln at Mattan and returns after two weeks—just for a day or two.

“You see, everything has to keep going, he remains away for work for weeks together. Someone has to keep on earning. We have not told him so far. He only knows that he (Bilal) suffered a minor injury. He doesn’t know that he can no longer see with his right eye,” says Yawar while pulling his trousers up to show a pellet injury on his right leg too.

Both the brothers are hopeful that the surgery which would be carried out in couple of days will illuminate the dark world of their family. But then the hope is a dangerous thing in a situation when there is only hopelessness and misery around.

“Let’s see what happens after the surgery, right now I am hopeful, but I don’t know anything about what is there for us tomorrow,” says Yawar, while once again, his sleep deprived eyes seem to be demanding a moment of rest.

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