News Kashmir Desk
Amnesty International’s report “Losing Sight in Kashmir: The Impact of Pellet-Firing Shotguns”- designed with photographs of blinded pellet victims was released few days back . Pertinently, the report presented the cases of 88 people whose eyesight has been damaged by pellets between 2014 and 2017.
The widespread use of the weapon was witnessed across length and breadth of Kashmir during the agitation in the Valley last year killed several people and blinded scores after violence broke out during protests sparked by the death of a Hizbul Mujahiddin militant, Burhan Wani.
Amnesty International report maintained that there is no proper way to use pellet-firing shotguns. It is irresponsible of the authorities to continue the use of the shotguns despite being aware of the damage they do.
After a spate of ghastly injuries last year the havoc caused by pellet gun in Kashmir earned the title “epidemic of dead eyes”, Amnesty and other rights groups called for a complete ban on the use of the shotguns. As a matter of fact single cartridge fired releases at least 500 high-speed metal pellets. These lodge in any available body part and are difficult to remove.
It is worth pointing out that In its report, Amnesty said it interviewed people aged from nine to 65.
“In his Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that change in Kashmir will not come from guns or abuses – na goli, na gali. If the government truly means this, they must end the use of pellet-firing shotguns, which have caused immense suffering in Kashmir,” Aakar Patel, executive director of Amnesty International India, said in a statement.
The report named 88 people, who were injured by pellets fired by security forces to quell protests in the Valley between 2014 and 2017. Of them, 31 suffered injuries to both the eyes, with two of them losing their vision completely, the report said. Speaking on the occasion, the executive director of Amnesty International India, Aakar Patel, demanded that the central and state governments ensure “the weapons are used in line with international human rights standards”.
“Pellet guns are only used in Jammu and Kashmir and not anywhere else in India. We have raised the issue with the government and it has assured us that they will be used only in extreme situations. We were told that the government understands that the damage caused by pellets is disproportionate,” he said.
Ajaz War , PRESIDENT JKYJA Stated – “ The report of Amnesty International is an eye-opener on the havoc caused by the pellets especially the loss of vision .It is high time that in the larger interest of humanity and peace the Government bans the pellet gun forever .”
Undoubtedly, Amnesty International report and voices of sanity clear call for blanket ban on this cruel weapon known as pellet gun.