Groping in the Dark: Kashmir’s pellet victims battle deteriorating mental health amid COVID-19 lockdown

It was the raging summer of 2016. Kashmir was witnessing one of its massive public upsurges. Thirteen-year-old Ifra Shakoor was preparing for her board exams when she heard a massive cry outside her neighbourhood in Pulwama. Worried about the safety of her brother, she ran towards the door to look for him. The moment she stepped out, security personnel aimed his shotgun at her face and fired. She collapsed and fainted. A few hours later, she woke up to an image of a sharp light in the operation theatre and the clattering of surgical instruments. The injury has left Ifra with partial vision in just one eye.

“There is still a pellet lodged inside the back of my left eye and it causes severe headaches. I dropped out of school after my treatment because it was too painful. Now, I just sit at my house and do nothing. This is the reality of my life now,” Ifra told

Ifra has known loss since her childhood. Her father was killed in a cross-firing between militants and security forces. Her ailing grandfather takes care of her needs and ensures she doesn’t miss any hospital visit but he says it has been difficult to go for checkups post-August 5 2019 when India stripped Kashmir of its special status and imposed strict security and communication lockdown. This was followed by the division of the erstwhile state into two union territories – Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.


Related Articles


Get in Touch


Latest Posts