Shopian boy blinded by pellets a month after police arrested his father

SHOPIAN: Doctors are about to remove one eye of 14-year-old Asif Ahmad Parray, and are not sure if he will regain vision in his other eye. Asif’s father, a 60-year-old man, is languishing in police custody since a month. His impoverished family is as worried about the expenses of Asif’s treatment as they are horrified at the cruel turn of events in the boy’s life.

Asif boy was injured during a brief encounter between militants and government forces at Hendew on Thursday evening. His mother, Nisara, says that her son was heading towards home when government forces fired on him with a full cartridge of pellets from point-blank range.

“Doctors told us that they have seen hundreds of pellet victims but Asif would be the first whose eye will be removed,” she said.

Asif’s father, Zahoor Ahmad Parray, is in police custody on charges of stone-pelting. “I don’t know what is his crime. He was arrested on the intervening night of April 24 in a nocturnal raid by police on our home. Later, when they found nothing against him, police filed a case of stone-pelting,” said Nisara, adding that when the family was facing a tough time, the sky fell on them when their son was blinded by pellets.

Family members said they were still clueless why the 60-year-old Zahoor was arrested. “Everyone knows how a 60-year-old man, father of three children, will take part in stone-pelting,” said Abdul Baseer Parray, nephew of Zahoor.

He said that his impoverished uncle was the lone earning member of the family.

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Basser said that since the injury to Asif, all the family members are desperately trying to get Zahoor released from police custody. But their efforts are failing.

“The family has no means to pay for Asif’s treatment. We request people to help the family,” Baseer said.

He said that when Asif was brought home in injured state, family members couldn’t recognise him at first. “I couldn’t recognise my own cousin. I only came to know when I checked his identity card,” Baseer said, describing the kind of disfigurement that the pellets did to Asif’s face.

He said that doctors told the family that they would remove one eye of Asif as it was totally damaged due to pellets.

“They also told us that they were not sure if Asif can regain eyesight in the other eye, which also has pellets lodged inside it,” Nisara said.

Asif is undergoing treatment at SMHS hospital in Srinagar, where his sister and uncle are attending to him. Family members told Kashmir Reader that Asif has a four-year-old brother and a 7-year-old sister.

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