Pellet victims Monday staged a protest in Srinagar. They demanded a ban on use of pellet guns by forces in Kashmir and urged society to take note of their plight and help them.
Various human rights bodies including Amnesty International have condemned the use of pellet firing shotguns by forces since at least 2010.
“These weapons have killed, blinded and injured thousands of people In January this year, the Jammu and Kashmir state government admitted in the state legislative assembly that 6,221 persons received pellet gun injuries, including 782 eye injuries, between July 2016 and February 2017. The actual figures are likely to be even higher,” Amnesty International recently wrote in a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, urging him to raise the issue during his visit to India.
People injured by pellet firing shotguns have faced serious physical and mental health issues, including symptoms of psychological trauma, Amnesty said, adding school and university students who were hit in the eyes said that they continue to have learning difficulties.
“Several victims who were the primary breadwinners for their families fear they will not be able to work any longer. Many have not regained their eyesight despite repeated surgeries. These shotguns fire a large number of small pellets spreading over a wide range. There is no way to control the trajectory or direction of the pellets, whose effects are therefore indiscriminate. By their very nature, the weapons have a high risk of causing serious and permanent injuries to the persons targeted as well as to others. These risks are virtually impossible to control.”
(Pictures by Zargar Zahoor)