SRINAGAR: A journalist in north Kashmir was targeted by government forces last year when entire Kashmir valley was under the grip of protests after the death of militant commander Burhan Wani.
The pallets fired at him damaged both of his eyes, leaving him jobless, and without any compensation. People, who loved his reporting, are not keen to help either.
Javid Ahmed Mir, the owner and editor of Kashmir News Network, an Urdu news agency from Langate in Kupwara district, was getting repeated calls on his cell phone about the protests in his area against the forces atrocities.
“Many people were injured that day,” he recalls. At five in the evening, Javid decided to visit the Kralgund hospital where protesters were being treated for their injuries. He gathered the details and statement of few injured and started his journey back home to write and file the story.
On the way home, a police jeep passed by him. As he looked back at it, a volley of pellets was fired from inside straight at his face, making him blind with blood oozing from across his body.
“It was already dark. The moment pellets hit me, I fell on the ground with my body burning. I couldn’t see anything and few people came and took me to a hospital,” Javid recalls that fateful day when he was hit by pellets.
When Javid was taken to Kralkhud hospital, the forces were already on rampage beating paramedics and those injured in the protest. Fearing the same fate, Javid was taken to his friend’s place and kept there for the whole night without any treatment.
“Forces were beating people in the hospital. If they could have got hold of me, they would have beaten me the same way,” he says.
The other morning he was taken to Baramullah district hospital from where he was shifted to Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS) hospital in Srinagar City.
“Both my eyes were damaged. Pellets were everywhere across my body. I couldn’t move. The pain was unexplainable,” he said.
It took Javid 28 days to stand up on his own feet and gain partial sight in his right eye. “Dr S Natarajan helped me a lot in gaining vision in the right eye. He used to give me assurances that everything will be fine, otherwise, I had lost hope that I would ever see again,” he added.
More than a year after the incident, memories and the injuries stay intact. He can’t see from his left eye as two pellets are still inside it.
“I have regained partial vision in my right eye but left eye is totally blind. Pellet shots are still inside my chest, legs, and arms and I can feel them,” he said. “Lately I am having Psychiatric problems. I can’t sleep…I have nightmares about police jeep coming and firing pellets indiscriminately at me.”
At least two pellets are still in my left eye due to which I am in burning pain. But I can’t afford the treatment. There are scores of pellets in other parts of my body as well.” He said he acted like a normal person but he can’t see properly after sunset and can’t sleep because of pain in the left eye. “Doctors advised me to visit a hospital outside J&K, but I can’t afford the treatment.
Javid has spent more than Rs 2 lakh of his hard earned money on his treatment and has to spend Rs 10,000 a month on buying medicines. He feels that he is left alone by his journalist fraternity to fight this battle alone. Last week, he sold his Kashmir News Network (KNN) agency to fund his treatment.
“Neither Kashmir Editors Guild nor any other journalists bodies helped me in getting the treatment. I don’t have any more money to fund my treatment and this is the reason I sold the news agency,” he told TwoCircles.net.
Javid tried to raise money by joining a private school but the salary was too meagre to meet the ends. “They used to pay me Rs 3,000 while I needed Rs 10,000 rupees a month for the medicines,” he says.
Javid according to a local daily said that government announced they will release financial relief to all the persons who were injured, and had lost their vision to pellets and bullets. “Some received (the relief money) but I am still waiting,” he said. “After I was handicapped, no one from media fraternity helped me either. No one offered me a job.”
“I also contacted state human rights commission, Guild, and other social and governmental organisations for help and they assured me that they will take up the matter with government for financial relief in my favour, but nothing was done”, he said.
For Javid life has become a burden and he desperately wants to get back into the profession but as soon as he tries to write, the dark reality comes to haunt him.
“I may be alive, but pellets have killed my passion and dreams,” he adds with his voice trembling.
(Credit & Inputs : TwoCircles.net, Kashmir Reader )