Srinagar, July 12: Twenty years ago, 60-year-old Abdul Satar Mir lost his legs when an abandoned shell exploded in the Keran sector of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district. The incident left the whole family in shock as Mir was the sole bread-winner for his family.
“It happened in 2002, when I was rearing my cattle near the Keran sector in Line of Control (LoC). I accidently touched the abandoned shell which exploded resulting in severely damaging my legs,” recollects Mir.
The doctors had to work hard to save him. However, to save his life, doctors had no options than to cut his limbs from his knees.
Nostalgic about the whole episode, Mir said that for the first few months his extended family took care of his expenses. However, as the day passed, people around him started ignoring him.
“Although government at that time assured my family that they would provide me compensation. But nothing except for fake promises came to my hand. My life was miserable and I was unable to walk properly. This has made me the butt of ridicule for everyone,” he said.
As per Mir border residents heavily rely on the Army for their welfare as compared to civil administration. It was the army that after years came to his rescue.
“Last week there was a medical survey in our area and my name was also included for getting new limbs,” he said.
Mir along with many other landmine victims did get artificial limbs by Jaipur based NGO, Bhagwan Mahavir Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS) in collaboration with Army at the Pharkian area of Keran Kupwara.
“It seems I was born again today. Now I can do all the work. Even my own relatives were ignoring me now. But now with me walking on these artificial limbs, I am sure they will be happy to see me,” he said.
During the past three decades, scores of people have lost their lives, while many have been injured due to improvised explosive device (IED) blasts or land mines in border villages of Kashmir.
Another victim, Siraj-ud-Din Khatana, a resident of Kapra Keran, lost his entire leg in 2004 in the similar incident.
“I was unable to walk for more than one decade. People used to call me by different names. It was killing me from inside but I could do nothing about it, except for being patient,” he said.
“Even my family ignored me. It was the most difficult time for me in my entire life. Now the artificial limbs will surely ease my suffering and I can spend my rest of life in a better way,” he said.
Khatana said due to poverty, he could not afford an artificial limb and was forced to stay home. “My life was nothing, except for the life of a dead person,” he said.
“It has given me hope for a new life and new expectations,” he said.
In the fitment camp, around 750 persons with disabilities were provided basic health care facilities in the camp and 11 artificial limbs, 17 wheelchairs, five calipers, eight crutches and 35 hearing aids were distributed.
Founder and Chief Patron BMVSS, D.R Mehta said it was their first medical camp in the Valley. The main objective of the medical camp was to provide physical and socio-economic rehabilitation to specially-abled persons, so they could lead a life of dignity and become productive members of the community, he said.