Pellet Victims wear injuries as symbol of Sacrifice, Badge of Honour

pellet-victims-wear-injuries-as-symbol-of-sacrifice-badge-of-honourPellets have blinded, maimed and killed but they have failed to dampen the spirits of the victims. The youth with pellet-hit eyes are sad about losing vision but display the bandage on their eyes like souvenirs.
Nineteen-year-old Adil from Kareemabad, Pulwama has become an overnight hero in his village since he lost his vision to pellets.
“I am sad, no doubt, that I have to live with a compromised vision all my life, but more than being sad about the loss I am happy that I have sacrificed my eyes for Azadi.”
A first year student, Adil became the target of the government forces who barged into his house and fired pellets indiscriminately injuring three members of his family besides him.
“I am a stone pelter and I fight to get freedom for the people of Kashmir who have been living under occupation from more than 60 years. Losing eyes can make one crazy. Till morning you were ironing your clothes, reading your books and picking apples from your orchard and now suddenly you have entered into darkness where there are no apples, no books,” he says.
“But in all this darkness what keeps you going is your spirit and patriotism for your land which makes you feel that you have scarified not lost your eyes. And I am proud for having given my eyes for the sake of my land.”
Adil says he is ready to lose another eye “if needed for freedom”.
“When I went home from hospital, I got a hero’s welcome. Almonds and flowers were showered on me when I went home for I was no less than a freedom fighter for the people of my village who were giving me respect which I have never got from them before. They were proud of me and their love made me proud of myself.”
In the ophthalmological ward of SMHS hospital eyes bereft of vision have become Iconic figures. Waseem Ahmad cannot see from his right eye. While protesting against civilian killings he received pellets and now is undergoing treatment at SMHS hospital. But since the pellet hit his eye, his “passion for Azadi” has been reinvigorated.
“I was not protesting in the initially days of uprising. But when I saw people getting killed, I couldn’t resist myself from coming on streets and protesting. And on August 20 I got hit by a pellet and since then I become a fan of myself and of all those who have received pellets for their land.”
Waseem, who is a mason by profession and is the only earning hand in his family says, “When I got hit by pellet, I fell down. There was nobody to take me to the hospital except policemen. I got up, went home, got my bike and drove with one eye and reached hospital. I preferred dying than taking help from these forces who were enjoying my helplessness.”
The 17-year-old has taken about 300 pictures of his injured eye and has posted it on his facebook page. “I don’t know but there is an inner feeling that constantly tells me that I am a hero. I don’t mourn the loss of my eyes because I think my eyes have been martyred.”
Couple of days ago, Waseem says, “My aunt visited me and said you are our hero, we are proud of you. And these words of appreciation make me feel that I have done something for my land and will keep on doing more.”
In many a places the photos of these pellet victims have been pasted on walls so as to make people realize the contribution of these “heroes”.
Yasir, a boy from Kulgam who has come to see his injured friend at hospital says, “In Kulgam we have posted photos of the injured who have lost eyes to pellets to remind people of their contribution to the movement. They are our real heroes and will always be.”
A nurse in the ward who has been giving the post operative care to these patients says on terms of anonymity: “Being a mother my heart bleeds to see these young kids losing vision. I can imagine how their mothers must be feeling to see their young sons in this condition.”
“While taking care of them, I strike a conversation with them and they too open up with me and share how they have got injured. I often ask them why do you pelt stones and make them realize what a loss of vision means. But to my every question they have one answer, Aunty I have lost just one eye, the second is still there to fight.”

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