Tear gas hits girl, expectant mother
Sandeep Singh Grewal
A 10-year-old girl and an expectant mother from Sitra were rushed to hospital after they inhaled tear gas the anti-riot police used to disperse an unauthorised rally last week, families claimed yesterday.
Fatima Hassan Mohammed Sitrawi, 10, was admitted unconscious at the accident and emergency department of the Salmaniya Medical Complex by her family, while Jehad, sister of municipal councillor Sadiq Rabea, was admitted to the SMC on the same day after she experienced difficulty in breathing. She is into the fourth month of pregnancy.
According to human rights activists and both families, the rally for the release of the detainees arrested last December, was not permitted by the Ministry of Interior.
The families claimed that the police had used excessive tear gas.
Fatima’s father, Hassan Mohammed Sitrawi, said she had gone to a nearby cold store to buy juice when the demonstrators went unruly. “She and other siblings brought foodstuff from the store and we left them with relatives. I received a call five minutes later that Fatima was unconscious.”
She was first rushed to the Sitra Health Centre where doctors performed a CPR and then shifted her to the SMC.
Sitrawi also claimed that several residents came out of homes as the police dispersed the protesters.
He threatened to sue the ministry for his daugther’s condition and said he was waiting for a medical report and would send it to hospitals abroad.
Fahmi Abdulsaheb Ahmed from Al Amal Islamic Society said they were following up Fatima’s case and would help Sitrawi file a case against the ministry. “It was not the girl’s fault. She woke up on Sunday and had no clues as to what happened. She fell unconscious because of the tear gas.”
Sadiq Rabea said, “We were scared about my sister Jehad and baby. She could not breathe because of the tear gas. I took her to the SMC where she was treated and later discharged.”
Moments after they returned home, Rabea said, Jehad called him and said she wanted to go to hospital again. “This was because of the intense smell in the area which affected my sister’s health. She is admitted at the SMC and her condition has improved a bit.”
Fatima and Jehad are expected to be discharged soon.
Mohammed Al Maskati from the Bahrain Youth Society of Human Rights alleged that the tear gas had affected many women and children. “We have written to the ministry on the use of tear gas to disperse gatherings. The police should adopt other ways to do it.”