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Scarred forever, on day of fun

Malegaon, Sept. 10: Prayers won’t be easy for Sheikh Mohbin Sheikh Ismail.

The next time he prays, the memories of Friday will flood back.

The 10-year-old, injured in the blasts that rocked this textile town on Shab-e-Barat, lies on a bed in a hospital, nursing wounds all over his body.

“I will never go there again. I am very scared. I had gone there with two of my friends because we wanted to see the fakirs who had arrived in hordes. When we came out after the prayers, there was a huge blast and we started running towards the gate. I was bleeding profusely. My uncle took me to the hospital,” says Ismail.

Parents say they let their kids venture out unescorted to the nearby Bada Kabrastan because many schools closed early that day, one of the holiest for Muslims when they pray for their forefathers.

Some schools had even declared a holiday, and the children were too excited to be held back at home.

Many, like Sabhan Md Yusuf, go there often. So, it was just another day. “It was fun, I had gone there with three of my friends and, as usual, we rushed out after the namaz was over. I couldn’t run because of wounds on my leg. But didn’t know where to go, so I walked back home,” says the 13-year-old who limped back a kilometre and a half.

Doctors say most of the children admitted to hospitals are seriously injured and would require long-term treatment.

The wounds in the lungs and abdomen were caused by splinters, many of which were more than half an inch in length, say doctors who operated on the victims.

“The injuries were unbelievable. I had treated patients during riots, it was never like this. The children have been the worst sufferers here,” said Itiqhab Faran, a doctor who treated many children at Faran hospital.

“The wounds are pretty deep. They have punctured many vital organs,” says another doctor.

Many kids will have to go under the scalpel several times before complete recovery. “It’s very painful,” says Mohsheen Yusuf, managing a smile for the camera.

The five-year-old was at the Kabrastan with his father, 45-year-old Md Yusuf who has suffered serious injuries on his back, head and legs.

These children are lucky to be alive. Few would know that better than Sajid Akhtar Abdul Rashid, who lost his five-year-old son in the blasts even as he was carrying him in his arms.

“This is Allah’s will. I wasn’t injured in the blasts. This wound that you see on my throat is because my child was riddled with splinters and, when I held him close, they penetrated my chest and my neck. I can hardly manage to talk now,” Rashid says between sobs.

There are many more kids in the wards, recovering without knowing that they are scarred for life.

For 13-year old Ubaid Ulla Khan, whose spleen had to be removed, and for 14-year-old Shakib Ahmad, whose abdomen has been ripped apart, life will never be the same again.

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