The number of people injured with pellets by government forces during last year’s uprising is more than double the figure cited in a government report before the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), a media report says.
The district administrators of eight districts – Baramulla, Kupwara, Shopian, Pulwama, Anantnag, Kulgam, Ganderbal and Srinagar – had submitted a report before the State Human Rights Commission, stating that 2,524 people were injured by pellets, many of them in the eyes. Of these, the government had said it was unaware about the identity of 804 pellet victims, according to Greater Kashmir.
However, data compiled by the state’s health and medical education department showed that 5,850 people were injured in these eight districts, the newspaper reported Monday.
Hospitals in the Valley’s 10 districts had received 6,200 pellet victims during that time.
Nearly 100 people were killed by government forces amid months of curfew and shutdown in Kashmir following the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani last July. The widespread use of pellet guns by government forces had left thousands wounded and several including a 12-year old boy from Srinagar dead, drawing condemnation from rights groups.
“Pellet-firing shotguns, which have been responsible for blinding, killing and traumatizing hundreds of people in Kashmir, must be immediately banned,” Amnesty International had said in a report– “Losing Sight in Kashmir: The Impact of Pellet-Firing Shotguns”– in September.
“Authorities claim the pellet shotgun is not lethal, but the injuries and deaths caused by this cruel weapon bear testimony to how dangerous, inaccurate and indiscriminate it is. There is no proper way to use pellet-firing shotguns. It is irresponsible of authorities to continue the use of these shotguns despite being aware of the damage they do.”