SRINAGAR: An unidentified mob attacked a loaded trailer with stones at Srinagar–Jammu Highway on Tuesday evening, making a three-year-old the youngest victim of violence in the present unrest in Kashmir Valley. Her uncle was also injured.

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Injured three-year-old Sarika

Sarika was on the way to Srinagar in her father’s rice-laden trailer with her two primary-school going siblings. When it reached Batengoo in Anantnag district, around 50-kilometre south of Srinagar, at around 6.30 pm, a flying stone smashed the trailer’s windscreen and hit her, fracturing her skull bone.

“They suddenly appeared, pelted stones and ran away,” Sarika’s father Showkat Ahmad said. “I had to unload the trailer in Srinagar and also drop my children here.”

Sarika lied in her mother’s lap with bandaged forehead and a bruised eye at a tertiary-care hospital in Srinagar. While on her left lied Ahmad’s cousin Aqib Ahmad Dar, with an inflamed eye, and a fractured nose and eyebrow.

Doctors treating Sarika said she has a depressed skull fracture. “She does not have a brain or eye damage, but we need to observe if the injury worsens in two or three days,” a doctor said. “It’s a grievous injury but we expect her to recover with time without operation,” he said.

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Sarika’s uncle Aqib Ahmad Dar, also injured in the stone pelting incident

Meanwhile, doctors said Dar has a brain injury that might need a surgery. “But we will treat him with medication first,” said a doctor.

Sarika’s mother said, “Is this the way to demand azadi (freedom)?”

Meanwhile, police, in a statement issued last evening, said: “A case has been registered and a manhunt launched to nab the culprits.

This article was first published in Hindustan Times on 24 November, 2016