Srinagar, Mar 04: Donning Pheran and a shabby scarf, a woman carrying a blue lunch box with yellow stains pleads for entry into the Trauma Ward at the Bones and Joints Hospital here.
The two young men checking on the visitors try to reason with her, for the hospital guidelines only allow smaller tiffin boxes to be carried inside.
“My son has a bullet injury. He is in excruciating pain. I haven’t seen him since Sunday,” the woman, Ayesha Begum (name changed), explains in a feeble voice.
“I cooked all night for him, and I want him to have his favourite food. I wish to relieve his pain somehow.”
Ten minutes later, the victim’s grandmother appears in the background, adjusting a crinkled scarf on her head, her eyes moist. She, too, makes the same request, but the guards don’t relent.
The Trauma Ward they wish to enter bears, at least, seven such tales involving the victims lying traumatised on its 4-5 beds.
All of them have open fractures characterised by a wound or broken skin near the site of the damaged bone.
On entering the room, one immediately notices the bearded boy who is in his mid-20s.
Wrapped in a blue shawl, his blood-shot eyes glower with anger, and the twitch in his face reveals his suffering from sharp pain.
His pitch black beard and hair appear dishevelled.
With a fractured arm and blood stained fingers, he moves restlessly on the bed.
The boy sitting next to him didn’t reveal how he is related to him.
“Why don’t you ask the patient himself? He will tell you what they (army) did to him. Don’t ask me,” he said, looking away, as if he were about to break down.
The bed opposite to him is occupied by a 16-year-old boy from Kulgam, who was hit by a bullet in his thigh.
Umar (name changed) lies still on the bed, surrounded by his two siblings. He looks vacantly towards the ceiling with his sleep-deprived eyes.
“He along with his friends had gone to see the damage at the encounter site. The police deliberately targeted him and fired a bullet into his leg” his elder brother said.
According to his brother, he got admitted on Sunday and immediately underwent a surgery.
“He will be here for a month. God knows, how much time he will take to recover,” he said, heaving a sigh.
Another patient was being readied for surgery. A stretcher had been brought and two attendants with him were struggling to put him on it.
Altaf Ahmad (name changed), 18, a resident of Shopian had been hit in his arm by the army while protesting.
“He has a fracture in the arm. The doctor said that he needed to be operated upon immediately. They will be inserting a metal rod to fix his fracture,” said his friend accompanying him.
Altaf’s parents have been told to stay home after the ambulances in the south Kashmir were stopped midway and not allowed to reach the hospitals.
Eyewitness reports reveal that 11 more patients from the same vicinity were brought here on Sunday.
Many of them were halted at several places, leading to protests by the Doctors Association of Kashmir.
Altaf’s friend confirms: “Yes, the ambulances that followed us faced a great of deal of inconvenience in reaching here.”
An official at the hospital said that almost all the patients they received had bullet injuries.
“We have received 15 patients since Sunday. Seven among them are still here. Most of them have bullet injuries,” he said, on the condition of anonymity
Dr A R Badoo, the Medical Superintendent at the Bones and Joints Hospital, too remained tight-lipped on the number of patients and the kind of injuries received.
Over 150 civilians were injured in protests following the killing of 13 militants and four civilians at Shopian on Sunday.
Three soldiers were also killed in the triple encounters that resulted in the bloodshed.
On Tuesday, one more civilian, from central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, succumbed to his injuries.
5 dead, as many missing as avalanche hits Khardung La pass
Srinagar, Jan 18: Five persons were killed and five others missing after their truck came under an avalanche in the Khardung La area of the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday, officials said.
The avalanche hit the truck carrying 10 persons at the Khardung La pass in the Ladakh region at 7 am, an official of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) said.
The BRO pressed into service its men and machinery to rescue the passengers of the truck, who were believed to be trapped under the debris, he added.
The police, Army and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel had also reached the spot, the BRO official said.
“So far, the bodies of five persons have been recovered from the avalanche site, while a search is on for the other missing persons,” he added.
A bulldozer driver posted at the Khardung La Pass said two tippers and a Scorpio vehicle carrying about 12 persons left towards K-top area early morning to load snow to Leh.
“One tipper was already loaded with snow. However, the mishap occurred when they were loading another vehicle. Suddenly, an avalanche hit them and 10 people in a tipper were buried under the snow,” he said.
A senior police official said, “At least 10-12 people were trapped under the snow and a body of a local resident from Leh has been recovered from the area. Fresh snowfall took place in the area on Thursday and they had gone to collect snow in a vehicle.”
Rescue teams of police, Border Roads Organisation and Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management Force reached the spot.
A high alert for avalanche was sounded on Thursday by the administration following adverse weather advisory by the Met department.
Guv expresses grief, announces Rs 5 lakh compensation
Jammu, Jan 18: Governor Satya Pal Malik has expressed grief over loss of precious lives due to snow avalanche at Khardung La in Leh district, Friday morning.
In his message, a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said, the Governor prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls and strength to the bereaved families in their hour of grief.
Governor has announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 5 lakh for the next of the kin of those killed in the avalanche.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and vice president Omar Abdullah too expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives in the avalanche.
The party spokesman in a statement said that the duo has urged the administration to expedite the rescue operation and ensure all support to the families of the deceased.
Both Farooq and Omar urged the governor administration to gear up its men and machinery to meet any eventuality in wake of heavy snowfall as predicted by the local MeT officials.
Impressing upon the administration to ensure that people don’t have to suffer due to the vagaries of weather, the duo urged the administration to ensure all arterial and other routes are kept open to avoid any suffering to people.
Kashmir braces for heavy snow spell from today
Srinagar, Jan 18: As the meteorological department has predicted another spell of moderate to heavy snowfall in the Kashmir region from Saturday onwards, people in Kashmir are readying themselves by keeping ample stock of food and ensuring proper heating arrangements are put in place.
With the western disturbances likely to affect the region, the officials have also warned of disruption of road, rail and air traffic from Saturday afternoon.
“The western disturbances are most likely to affect the state and its adjoining areas from January 19 to 25, with the main activity between January 20 and 23 and gradual decrease thereafter,” Sonam Lotus, director Meteorological department said.
He said moderate to heavy snowfall and rain was expected at widespread places of the Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions.
“Some places may receive very heavy rain and snow during this period,” he said, adding that light snowfall would begin at a few places in Kashmir on Saturday morning and increase in intensity and distribution thereafter.
On Friday, Kargil recorded the night’s lowest temperature at minus 19.2 degrees Celsius while neighbouring Leh recorded a minimum temperature of minus 15.6, Met office said.
Drass town was the coldest in the Jammu and Kashmir at minus 27.1.
Srinagar, the summer capital of the state recorded a low of minus 0.7 while the mercury in Qazigund in south Kashmir settled at a low of minus 0.7 degrees Celsius.
Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 10.0 degrees Celsius while night temperature in Pahalgam – the famous health resort settled at a low of minus 10.3 degrees.
Kokernag town recorded a low of minus 2.0 degrees Celsius while Kupwara town in north Kashmir registered a low of minus 2.8 degrees Celsius last night.
Jammu city recorded 5.3 degrees Celsius, Katra 6.3, Batote 2.5, Bannihal 0.7 and Bhaderwah minus 0.8 degree Celsius.
Twin grenade attacks in city-centre, Shopian
Srinagar, Jan 18: Less than 24 hours after the Rajbagh grenade attack, militants on Friday carried out two more grenade attacks on government forces in Kashmir, including one in the city-centre Lal Chowk here.
Militants lobbed a grenade at a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bunker at Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) in Lal Chowk in the afternoon, a police official said.
The grenade exploded on the roadside, he said, adding that no one was hurt in the attack.
A private car parked on the roadside was partly damaged due to the explosion, the official said.
Window panes of a few shops on either side of the road were also damaged because of the blast.
This was the second such attack on government forces in Srinagar within 24 hours.
Earlier on Thursday, militants had hurled a grenade on police personnel at Zero Bridge here, resulting in injuries to three policemen.
In another incident on Friday, militants lobbed a grenade at a police camp in Gagran village of Shopian district of south Kashmir. However there was no report of loss of life or damage to property.
A police spokesperson came out with the following statement later in the day: Police had to attend two “terror” crime spots today following the reports of grenade attack by militants at Srinagar and Shopian. Officers from the local police units immediately reached to both the crime spot this (Friday) afternoon to initiate the investigation in the matter.
“While attending the crime spot, officers did not receive any report pertaining to the loss of life or property. Police has registered cases for both the incidents. Officers from the local police units are at work to establish the full circumstances which led to these incidents. If you have any information that can assist police in its investigation, you may kindly contact Police,” the spokesperson said.
The three attacks come days ahead of the Republic day and is likely to push government forces for taking even more stringent ‘security’ arrangements, especially in and around the city.
Later in the day, militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed the responsibility of the grenade attacks in Srinagar and Shopian.
A spokesperson of JeM Mohammad Hassan in a statement to news agency GNS claimed that three forces personnel were injured in the attack at City Centre Lal Chowk.
He also claimed that several forces personnel were critically injured in the attack at Gagran in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.
The Kashmir Monitor also received a phone call from one Hamza Rashid, who said he was the spokesperson of Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front, and claimed the responsibility of the Lal Chowk grenade attack.