Away from the shutterbugs and byte-hungry cameramen, Faraz Hussain Shah (13), a resident of a village near no-man’s land in frontier district of Tanghdar is lying on a stretcher outside the X-ray department of Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital in Srinagar. There are no bandh calls from separatists and no policemen surrounding him on the stretcher, except his brother, uncle and a neighbour. He will go down in the violent history of Kashmir as an obscure case, probably because he comes from a remote village.
On Monday evening, around 7 pm, Shah was playing with other seven kids at Toli village in Jabri, near the Line of Control, just next to no-man’s land. “All the seven boys were playing in the lawn and there was a big bang of the explosion. We rushed to the spot and found two boys dead,” said Zameer Ahmad, the victim’s neighbour.
Two boys Fazul (12) and Adil (13) were declared brought dead in a Tangdhar hospital, while Shah was referred to a Srinagar hospital, more than 100 km away from the spot.
Nobody knows if it was a landmine or a grenade. “The village is near the LoC and the preliminary investigations reveal that they were fiddling with explosive,” a senior police officer in Kupwara said. He said that the locals gather exploded ammunition of troopers and sell it. “It was unexploded and they gathered it,” he added.
It was after the 2001 ceasefire that the village was shaken by the blast. Before the ceasefire between India and Pakistan, the village was witness to regular shelling and has lost three people in 2001.
Shah and two of his friends has become the latest victims of the explosives scattered in the border area. The impact of the blast has Shah’s hand amputated and face damaged with splinters all over it and his chest.
“His one eye was completely damaged by the impact of the blast and another we are not sure about,” said Dr Rizwan at the SMHS hospital.
Shah’s father Yamin Shah is a small-time farmer and has three siblings. Shah’s brother Sakhifa is desperately running from one testing centre to another in the hospital. “I want him to see again,” said Sakhifa, while waiting outside the operation theatre.
Writhing in pain, Shah may not see again and will live a life of a handicap. His eternal pain has just died for all of us with a headline “Two dead, five injured in Kashmir blast”.