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Srinagar Hospitals and Sunday horror: ‘God knows, how much time he will take to recover’

Hirra Azmat

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.