Total Pageviews

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

On militancy’s ‘Silver Jubilee’, Yasin listens to a horrible tale at SKIMS

‘What did they get out of lobbing a grenade on us?’ injured woman tourist asks JKLF chief

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jul 30: Just two days short of the ‘Silver Jubilee’ of Kashmir’s armed strife, pioneer of the gun culture, Yasin Malik, did listen to a horrible tale of the innocent bloodletting at SKIMS, Soura. JKLF’s chairman, Malik was a key member of HAJY Group (Hameed Sheikh, Ashfaq Majeed, Javed Mir and Yasin Malik) that triggered off hitherto unending insurgency with the first grenade attack on Central Telegraph Office (CTO), Srinagar, on July 31, 1988. Twenty-five years later, he has the distinction of being the only separatist politician to visit SKIMS and inquire about the condition of five female tourists from Mumbai who sustained injuries in a blast on their bus near Bijbehara on July 28th.

Not exactly reminiscent of what Chief Minister Omar Abdullah faced on his visit to SKIMS in the thick of bloodshed and street mayhem in 2010, JKLF chairman’s interaction on Sunday with the victims of the Bijbehara blast fits well in his political archives. Relieved by Omar Abdullah government’s version that the group of eight female tourists from Mumbai had been the victim of an LPG cylinder blast, Malik walked all the way to the extension of a post-operative ward at the state’s only tertiary care hospital.

Two of the group had died on spot. Third one had breathed her last on her arrival for treatment at SKIMS. Fourth one, 70-year-old Indira Parvathi, was in coma and likely to be declared dead in the hospital’s surgical ICU any moment. Malik learned that she had splinter injuries on entire body but her head injuries could prove to be fatal.

Of the remaining four, Jaswanthi Thakkar (72), asked Malik: “What is our sin? What’s the wrong we had done (in visiting Kashmir)? Even a dacoit gets something for his act. What did they get out of it?” Jaswanthi had multiple splinter injuries in her left leg. 

That conversation made Malik speechless. He, nevertheless, inquired from another injured woman, Pratima, whose only daughter and father were far away in Australia: “Was it not a gas cylinder?” To his disbelief, Malik learned from the proverbial horse’s mouth that neither the tourist group not the driver of the ill-fated Tempo Traveler carried any LPG cylinder. Like others of the group, Pratima’s body was perforated with splinters. “Had it been a gas cylinder blast, we would have burnt”, added she.

The injured woman narrated an eyewitness account as to how two boys came close to the slowly moving vehicle and lobbed a hand grenade through an open glass pane. Within seconds, she said, it went off, causing havoc.

And, when Malik returned from the hospital with a blushed face, he began feeling what Albert Einstein, the American scientist whose formula led to creation of atom bomb, was faced with at the end of Hiroshima Nagasaki. All what Malik could do was that he mellowed down his statement of the day and called it only a “mysterious blast”---unlike other separatist and mainstream politicians who in chorus dismissed it as a ‘gas cylinder blast’. Don’t ask names the two top men in the Council of Ministers, joined by a senior and brilliant Police officer, who floated the theory of the ‘gas cylinder blast’.

FSL’s forensic examination and the ballistic analyses are expected to make everything clear within a week’s time. Sources close to the investigators, as also the doctors treating the victims and the ballistic experts who collected the samples in Bijbehara on Sunday, are sure that the findings could turn a many faces red in the Government as well as in the valley’s separatist camp. They insist that Police had also recovered a pin that had been removed from the grenade before it was thrown into the bus. But all and sundry in Ashok Prasad’s Police are now tightlipped with regard to the source of the blast.

Meanwhile, two of the injured tourists, namely Neetha and Jaswanthi, were discharged from SKIMS today. Sources said that, accompanied by their family members, they flew back to home in Mumbai in the afternoon. SKIMS sources said that Geetha and Jaishree were still under treatment and observation at the post-operative ward after one of them passed through an orthopedic surgical procedure last night. These sources said that 70-year-old Indira Parvathi was continuously in coma and her chances of survival were “extremely bleak”.


No comments: