Milad’s parents didn’t know he was shot, CT scan showed bullet

Dilnaz Boga Reporting for

Yet another boy, age of Milad

Srinagar – Kashmir: Two days ago, this story was supposed to be about a miracle survivor, who had cheated death despite the grave nature of his injury. But today, it is not. At 4 am, Thursday, nine-year-old Milad Ahmed Dar, lost his battle to death in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), after six days.

During last weekend’s protests in Islamabad (IOK), scores were hurt. Three youth even lost their lives to bullets or tear gas shells. It was during the same time that Milad got hurt.

Hailing from Laar in Ganderbal, Milad had gone along with his family, to visit a relative in Wanipora in Islamabad last weekend, said his father Mohammed Amin Dar (31). He recalled how Milad vomited after he returned home from the darzgah on August 14, and then passed out.

Alarmed by his condition, his family rushed him to Janglat Mandi hospital in Islamabad amidst violent clashes. “We passed mobs. Then I saw blood on my sleeve. I thought he must have hurt himself when he fainted at home,” said Dar.

Milad was soon referred to SKIMS, Soura. A doctor who saw him in the Emergency ward said, “When the child was brought to us, he was already in a coma and was suffering from fits. He was bleeding from his nose and also had a small puncture wound, measuring 0.5 cm on his head. He had a history of fever and diarrhea.”

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He added, “We called the pediatrician and opted for a CT scan, thinking may be it was an infection in the brain. We had no idea he had been shot in the head. Even his parents didn’t know. The bullet had traveled from one side of the brain to the other.”

With a tube, sticking out of his mouth, Milad lay on bed number 9 in the Surgical ICU ward, two days ago. “Fire Arm Injury to head,” the file lying by his bed stated plainly. Milad looked too tiny on the full-sized ICU bed meant for adults, with his face, bandaged right up to the bridge of his nose. His father hovered around him, with a worried look in his eyes.

Medical superintendent of SKIMS, Dr Syed Amin Tabish recalled how Milad was unstable when he was rushed into the emergency ward last Saturday. “He has been on the ventilator since he got here,” he had said.

On condition of anonymity, a doctor said, “No one could explain how, when or where the child was shot in the head. This is the sign of the times we live in. I’m assuming the child must have gone numb in extreme fear or excitement that he did not even feel the pain of the bullet piercing his head. Had he felt pain, the nine-year-old would have complained or cried at least.”

Dilnaz Boga is a journalist from Mumbai based in Srinagar. She is working as a journalist for Kashmir Monitor in Srinagar and She has also worked for Hindustan Times as Chief Copy Editor in Mumbai and in Mumbai Mirror as a senior copy-editor. Previously, she has also worked for a city-based newspaper, writing on issues like health, women’s and children’s issues, human interest, civic, education and crime. She has also covered conflicts in Kashmir, the North-East, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra for several publications. She completed her BA in English and Psychology from Sophia College, Mumbai University and her MA in English Literature from Mumbai University. In July 2004, she completed her MA in Peace and Conflict Studies with a distinction on her dissertation ‘Cycles of violence: The impact of human rights violations on the children in Kashmir’ from the University of Sydney in Australia. The following year she shot a documentary in Kashmir on the same subject titled, Invisible Kashmir: The other side of jannat (Heaven), which was screened at film festivals all over the world