On Monday, parents of Hiba Jan, the 19-month old girl whose right eye was perforated by a pellet fired by government forces, were anxious. Hiba is scheduled to undergo second surgery in the injured eye at SMHS Hospital on Wednesday.
“We have been praying and hoping that the surgery is a success. These are very difficult time for us,” Hiba’s father Nisar Ahmad Bhat told the Greater Kashmir.
Determined not to miss the scheduled surgery of his daughter, Bhat said they were planning to leave for the hospital early morning on Tuesday. “We have made all arrangements. We will leave early morning. If there is some problem with transport, we will take an ambulance,” said Bhat of Kaprin village in Shopian.
A pellet fired by the government forces is lodged in the globe of the eye of Hiba, her X-ray has revealed. “When we open the eye, then only can we actually comment on how much vision Hiba will be able to regain,” said a surgeon in the ophthalmology department at the hospital. “We will do our best and let us hope things turn out good for the child.”
Like the surgeon, Hiba’s parents too have hinged their hopes on the surgery. “Insha Allah, her vision will improve,” Bhat said.
Another senior doctor at the hospital said the little Hiba has suffered “severe damage” in her eye, a bitter fact Bhat family is aware of. During his stay in the hospital, after Hiba was admitted there on November 25, Bhat had come across number of people injured by pellets in past who have been underwent repeated surgeries, but have seen little improvement in their vision.
Bhat has his fingers crossed. “May God help all those people to see as well, along with my daughter,” Bhat sighed. “She (Hiba) is a little baby. She doesn’t even understand what has happened,” he said, his voice choking.
During a previous check-up, doctors had found that Hiba’s eye was “not reacting much to light”. Doctors had said that the child had suffered vitreous hemorrhage, a condition where blood leaks into the clear fluid (vitreous humor) that fills the eyeball, making it murky and causing vision loss.
At home, Hiba’s brother Shahadat has been making the most of his time with his little sister. “He plays with her from morning till evening now,” Marsala Jan, mother of Hiba said. “The entire family is devastated but we want to smile in front of Hiba so that she smiles too,” she said.
The family was paid a compensation of Rs 1 lakh by State government. Hiba was injured “inside her home” in Kaprin Shopian when government forces fired pellet shot guns on people following a gun-fight in a nearby village. An inquiry was also ordered to “fix responsibility”.
Bhat said he had taken off from work again to accompany his daughter to hospital. Working as a labourer, Bhat had joined back to work a day after his daughter was discharged from hospital. “We are poor people. We cannot afford to sit at home,” he said.
He said he needed his earnings to run his family and the money government paid will be consumed for treatment of the child. “An ambulance to Srinagar costs Rs 1100, then there are medicines too. I would not accept any compromise in her treatment because of our poverty,” he said.