Cultivators attacked by militants stare at huge losses

SRINAGAR: Two men, visibly paler versions of themselves, sit up in their adjustable beds, in Ward No. 17 of Government Bone and Joints Hospital in Srinagar.

editorial@tribune.com

Sumayyah Qureshi

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, September 10

Two men, visibly paler versions of themselves, sit up in their adjustable beds, in Ward No. 17 of Government Bone and Joints Hospital in Srinagar. Their legs held straight in plaster cast covered with green hospital blankets.

It is lunch time. The two men — Mohammad Ashraf, Mohammad Ramzan — are having soup and bread from their bowls, while relatives, mostly men attending to them and those come to ask about their well-being, swarm around the beds. A constant streak of relatives, neighbours and acquaintances pours in to meet the two men, who have bullet injuries in their legs.

Four persons — Mohammad Ashraf, Mohammad Ramzan, Arshid Rather and a five-year-old girl — were injured in a militant attack on Friday night at Dangerpora village in north Kashmir’s Sopore. The men are fruit growers and own hundreds of kanals of orchards.

While Arshid has been discharged from the hospital, his daughter, Asma Jan (5), remains admitted to the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences in Srinagar.

A relative of Mohammad Ashraf said both had undergone minor surgeries to remove the bullets lodged in their legs. He said the doctors at the hospital were preparing both injured for major surgeries in the coming days.

He said as Ashraf remained in the hospital, there was no one to take care of his orchards or of the produce, some of which is going to be ready soon.

Not ready to talk about the attack, Ashraf said: “It was like a dream. It came and went.”

“I have to remain strong. If I lose hope, I will be finished,” he said to a neighbour, who had come to see him, while he wiped his forehead with a striped white handkerchief.

While the two men are undergoing treatment at the hospital, they are worried about their families and the losses they will have to incur as they remain immobilised by the injury.

Mohammad Ramzan, whose bed is adjacent to his cousin Mohammad Ashraf, said: “It will take me around two to three months to recuperate. I am looking at the losses of over Rs 2 crore this fruit season.”

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