Surgery number 6: Shopian father fights lonely battle for daughter attacked with acid

Ali Mohammed (name changed) of Shopian’s Kral Chek area is getting ready for the sixth surgery of his daughter scheduled for Friday at a private hospital in the Ompora area of Budgam in central Kashmir.

The physically disabled father has spent lakhs of rupees to ensure that his daughter gets well, however, no major success has been achieved so far.

In October last year, his daughter was walking towards a shop when a boy from the Aadoo area in Shopian splashed acid at her face and ran away from the spot. But the story dates back to 2020. “The two were about to be married. But the father of the boy refused the proposal of the girl’s family owing to their poverty,” a family member of the girl said. He tried several times to meet and convince her but failed to do so.

“The girl’s family tried to convince the boy’s family, several times, but the boy’s father was resolute on not letting the two married. The two families eventually decided that the two should not meet anymore. The girl did not try to meet the boy again and in fact, told the boy to not meet her anymore,” the family member said. The boy did not like the girl going away from her.

“The boy accused her of talking to other boys and did not like that she rejected his constant proposals. In October, he attacked her with acid.”

The 17-year-old was rushed to a nearby hospital in Shopian from where she was referred to Srinagar’s SMHS hospital.

The boy was arrested by the Jammu Kashmir Police and initially lodged at Keller Police station in Shopian. Later he was shifted to the district jail of Kupwara.

The surgeries were happening so frequently that Ali Mohammed had to rent a room in Srinagar, he said, adding, “Her injuries are very grave and there are little chances of her full recovery.” Eventually, the doctors advised private surgery at a hospital in Budgam’s Ompora,” he said.

Today, after five months, the survivor is battling inside the hospital and the poor family continues to face the brunt of the unbearable medical cost. “Nobody has helped us as of now. Not even a single person from the administration has visited us,” the father of the survivor told The Kashmiriyat.

The acid attack in Srinagar, earlier this week, evoked widespread condemnation. Protests were staged and social media was abuzz in token condemnation of the incident in which three youth attacked a 24-year-old woman from the Nowhatta area of Srinagar. The girl is battling for her life in the SMHS hospital.

However, the incident from Shopian did not create buzz over social media. Perhaps, this was one of the reasons that the family is having a tough time, and paying for the medical expenses has become a mammoth task for the father of the survivor from Shopian.

He said that he has a minor son and a daughter. “I am the sole bread earner to my family,” he said. Ali Mohammad said that he is being paid a meagre sum of ₹400/ month in the nearby government school where he works.

“The doctors have said that there are little chances of her recovering. It is going to be an impossible task for me to arrange money for the surgeries that cost Lakhs of rupees,” her father told The Kashmiriyat.

He said he has done rounds of several offices where he received mere assurances, but no monetary help.