Eight-year-old Zeeba binti Farooq and her six-year-old brother Mohammad Aqib were discussing their computer lessons in the bus standing near Court Road in Lal Chowk in Srinagar when they heard a bang.
“Within no time the window panes of our bus were shattered and I saw blood oozing from the chest of a man standing near me. Outside, a CRPF man was firing aimlessly,” recalled Zeeba in the emergency ward of the state government-run Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital in Srinagar. “I felt a sharp pain in my left leg and fell down,” she recalled.
The class III student and her brother were returning home from their computer coaching classes at an institute when militants struck at Lal Chowk in central Srinagar on Wednesday afternoon. Their bus was waiting for commuters near Court Road, the main spot where militants fired some shots first and hurled a grenade towards a CRPF bunker nearby before storming into a hotel.
“I screamed at Aqib when I saw blood flowing from my leg,” Zeeba said. Her brother said an “uncle” lifted her up and took them to the hospital in an auto.
Two splinters had pierced Zeeba’s left thigh but doctors said she was out of danger.
At the hospital, 40-year-old Ghulam Mohammad Dar was pleading with doctors in the emergency ward to treat a bullet wound. “It must be somewhere. We were fired from behind,” Dar was saying.
He had spent at least an hour stuck in a shop on Court Road after the shootout started. “I was walking on the road when I heard gun shots. I immediately ran into a shop and downed the shutters. There were three of us inside,” said Dar, a medical assistant and resident of north Kashmir.
“We heard securitymen shouting outside the shop telling us to come out. We came out. But we heard gunshots behind us. I don’t know whose shots... but I ducked and got injured,” Dar said.
“I was brought to hospital by a civilian not by the police,” he said.