08/11/2016 1:40 PM IST | Updated 08/11/2016 2:27 PM IST

In Srinagar, 20 Students Hit By Pellets Seek Helpers To Write Exams

Board exams in Kashmir are due next week.

Mukhtar Khan/AP
Kashmiri doctors and medical workers wear bandages on their eyes as a mark of protest against the use of pellet guns.

With board exams due next week in the Kashmir Valley, reports suggest that at least 20 students have approached the SMHS Hospital in Srinagar to help them get assistance in writing exams.

The Jammu and Kashmir State Board of School Education had formally notified last week that they would provide helpers for those who had been injured in the Kashmir clashes.

The helpers will accompany the students to the examination hall and write verbatim what the students tell them.

Greater Kashmir reports doctors from the SMHS hospital as saying, "At least 13 students of class 10 and eight students of class 12 have approached us for certification of visual impairment."

The Kashmir Valley saw widespread protests after the death of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani in July. The use of pellet guns by security forces and state police had left several dead and many others injured. Many of the injured were minors and have received injuries in their eyes. Some have lost their eyesight permanently.

According to doctors at the hospital, there could be others who have taken certificates of visual impairment since most ophthalmologists can provide such certificates.

Greater Kashmir quoted a doctor as saying, "There were at least 50 class 10 and 12 students who had pellet injuries. Many must have procured certificate from their local hospitals."

The state board had taken the decision of providing helpers for the injured after they received a direction from the state Education Minister Naeem Akhtar. In the face of severe criticism over the way in which they have handled the situation in the valley, and because of the ongoing burning of schools in the state, it is perhaps the state government's bid to normalize the situation for the students.

A state board official had told Kashmir Observer last week, "Minister Sahib told us to make exams student-friendly and excuse-free to a level that none of them who has been blinded or injured in the ongoing unrest makes an excuse of not appearing in the exams on health grounds... So we decided to come up with a scheme of offering helpers to such affected students."

Thousands of youngsters had been killed or injured during the clashes. Reports of pellet injuries were even reported last week when three teenaged girls were injured when the police opened fire on stone pelters in the Pulwama district.

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