Church comes to rescue of pellet victims in Kashmir; seeks Govt permission to setup eye bank

By Raqib Hameed Naik

Srinagar: In a significant move aimed at helping hundred of youths who have been blinded by use of pellet guns in Kashmir, the Catholic Church officials in Jammu and Kashmir have asked for state government permission to establish an eye bank in the state.

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Jammu-Kashmir Diocese has already submitted a detailed proposal for establishing eye bank to Directorate Health Services.

According to Father Shaiju Chacko who is the director of Diocesan social services, the decision was taken in the backdrop of use pellet guns in Kashmir which led to injuries to hundreds of protesters.

Over and over again, the stories of people getting their eyes lost and then the initiative of treating pellet victims for free by Dr Natarajan inspired and motivated us to help with the resources we have, Father Shaiju Chacko told

“Then we realised that there were also legal hurdles as organ donation is eschewed in the state. We have asked for the governments permission to establish the eye bank, he added.

Dr Sundaram Natarajan a renowned retinal surgeon who is also a Padma Shri awardee, had twice visited Department of Ophthalmology, Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital in last three months to conduct eye surgeries on dozens of pellet victims for free.

Father Chacko further briefed that they already have a hospital in Jammu where they will establish the eye bank.

We also have associate hospital in Baramullah. So once the necessary permission is given by the government then we can work on it. Besides we have consulted eye banks outside the state that are ready to provide the necessary help.

The JK Diocese already has a doctor lined up for conducting the surgeries.

“Were only waiting for the governments response. We are also taking this request to secretary health and other concerned officials in government, said Father Chacko.

Importantly, during the current unrest the forces have been resorting to indiscriminate use of pellet guns on protestors leading to injuries to hundreds of persons and killing at least ten. Various national and international human rights watchdogs have condemned the use of pellet guns on protestors in Kashmir.

Extracted fromtwocircles

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