January 2017 News

After Getting Pellets From Forces, Victims Get Cold Shoulder From Govt

8 January 2017
Rising Kashmir
Shafaq Shah

Srinagar: With hundreds of pellet victims struggling to meet the expenses of their treatment, the government seems to be unmoved by their plight. While Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti has been frequently talking about sufferings of people injured in last year's unrest, her government has apparently no plans to help the victims. Speaking to Rising Kashmir, District Social Welfare Officer, Srinagar, Tariq Ahmad said, 'The department has received no orders from the government regarding compensation and rehabilitation of pellet victims.' Seeing no help coming from the authorities, the pellet victims recall how they were taken care of by various volunteer groups at SMHS hospital. Immediately after the causalities started pouring in at the hospital, these volunteer groups provided free food and medicines to the injured persons and their attendants. The volunteers were evicted by the government and the victims were left to fend for themselves and buy everything on their own. 'The volunteers were not taking care of us only but of our attendants as well by providing them food and tea. But since they left we were neglected. The medicines and equipments we have to buy are expensive. Our parents spent their hard earned money on the treatment and now they cannot afford the expenses of further treatment. In such circumstances how can we continue our treatment?' said a group of pellet victims. Tahir, a 23-year-old boy, is one of the hundreds of victims who have been left with impaired vision after being hit by pellets in the eyes. 'We don't expect anything from the government. But at least they could have made medicines available to us in hospitals like the volunteers were doing. If the same thing would have happened in Jammu, the ministers would have rushed to help them. Didn't Mehbooba Mufti go to the Jammu hospital to meet the people injured in the cross Loc firing. But why would she come here because elections are over,' Tahir said. Requesting anonymity, an official of social welfare department said government should start with compensation. 'The victims are in need of money at this point of time. Once the treatment part will be over, then the next step should be to rehabilitate these victims. But the government seems to have no plans for them,' he said. Speaking to Rising Kashmir, Minister for Social Welfare Sajad Lone said, 'The government has to take a call on compensation and we will be announcing it in due course of time. Infact during the initial days of uprising the home department had kept a helpline number for people, but since the newspapers were not publishing those days the message didn't reach people.' Lone further said: 'We have a Composite Regional Centre (CRC) at Bemina that looks into rehabilitation of disabled persons. They are doing something for the injured people. Though, there are lots of schemes in the social welfare department for the victims, but the point is how to reach out to people.' 'Whosoever wants to approach us for help we will help them. And as far as availability of the medicines is concerned I will look into it,' the minister added.