Maimed in shelling 2 years ago, no end to Poonch girl’s agony

JAMMU: Tahira, a 17-year-old resident of the border village of Mendhar, Poonch, could have built a treasure trove of memories running through green pastures and along its gushing clear streams.

Maimed in shelling 2 years ago, no end to Poonch girl’s agony

Tahira from Poonch says she has lost all hope of getting any government assistance. Tribune photo

editorial@tribune.com

Ranjit Thakur

Jammu, July 18

Tahira, a 17-year-old resident of the border village of Mendhar, Poonch, could have built a treasure trove of memories running through green pastures and along its gushing clear streams. When she trips down the memory lane now, it invariably leads her to the same day in 2017 when the festering India-Pakistan hostilities unleashed a particularly aggressive round of cross-border shelling and robbed her of a carefree childhood.

Studying in Class X, in October 2017, Tahira was having a meal with her siblings, when a loud explosion plunged the surroundings into a cloud of smoke and shrapnel. Her left leg was badly wounded. Even her younger sister and a brother sustained injuries in the incident.

Needless to say it has been a difficult journey since. “I don’t remember what it means to be physically fit. I see the difference when I see my siblings and friends run,” she says.

“I have undergone 10 surgeries — seven in Jammu and three in Kashmir — but I don’t see any improvement. Two are yet to be performed. I can’t even stand,” said Tahira.

“We have been trying to seek government’s help, but no one pays heed. The DC officer always rejects our file. My father has burnt all his savings and is in debt of nearly Rs 16 lakh,” said the teenager.

“I also had to drop studies due to my treatment, but want to continue.... I aspire to be a doctor. Because of my treatment, my siblings’ studies are also affected,” she said.

Tahira’s father Mohammed Nasim, a selection grade constable in the J&K Police, said, “Half of my salary goes into my daughter’s treatment. Although the government claims it has started many schemes for the girl child with the ‘Beti Padao, Beti Bachao’ campaign, I have little hope of getting any assistance from the authorities.”

Nasim said the Army had been a great support in these difficult times. “It has been providing us free medical assistance from time to time for two years.” he said.

An Army doctor posted at Poonch said, “We are the first responders on the Line of Control because of no medical facilities available here. We had provided Tahira with the first treatment when the incident took place in 2017, but because her injury required special treatment, we referred her for improved treatment in Jammu. Later, she was moved to Srinagar for better orthopaedic treatment, but we always provided her with whatever assistance we could.”

Rahul Yadav, Poonch DC, said, “Their file is incomplete as they are unable to provide proper medical certificates to claim the compensation.”

In this bleak narrative, Tahira’s story of loss continues to find fresh echoes. The shelling incidences continue to send the locals scurrying for cover.

Life-changing mishap

  • Seventeen-year-old Tahira, a resident of the border village of Mendhar in Poonch and a student of Class X, was having a meal with her siblings in October 2017 when a loud explosion plunged the surroundings into a cloud of smoke and shrapnel
  • Her left leg was badly wounded. Even her younger sister and a brother sustained injuries in the incident

Army to rescue

We are the first responders on the Line of Control because of no medical facilities available here. We had provided Tahira with the first treatment when the incident took place in 2017, but because her injury required special treatment, we referred her for improved treatment in Jammu. Later, she was moved to Srinagar for better orthopaedic treatment, but we always provided her with whatever assistance we could. — An Army doctor

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