Published On: Thu, Sep 29th, 2016

What pellet guns have done to protesters in Kashmir

711 views

Another day dawns in Indian-administered Kashmir and people are rushed from different corners of the valley to the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS) in Srinagar. The ophthalmology ward is packed and most of the injured carry pellet wounds, especially on the face and torso. The sight of the human damage caused by the indiscriminate use of pellet guns is a reminder of the Indian security forces’ impunity toward Kashmiri civilians.

The Indian police claims that pellet gun is a non-lethal weapon butaccording to the Kashmir Blind Spot Campaign (KBSC), the use of the gun — normally reserved for hunting animals — has resulted in more than 69 deaths.

If not always fatal, it leaves a lifelong impact on the victims.

According to the Indian government, 500 people have been injured by this weapon, most of whom have “multiple structural damage” to their eyes, requiring multiple surgeries and lengthy medical treatment.

The KBSC, however, reports a much higher number with more than 4,500 injured due to pellet wounds.

In the first 32 days of the conflict only, the Indian army had used 1.3 million pellets.

Amnesty International has called for pellet guns to be banned as it can cause blindness.

Pellet wounds have come to symbolise the suffering of Kashmiris following the latest unrest.

Pellet wounds have come to symbolise the suffering of Kashmiris following the latest unrest.

Doctors at the SMHS Hospital are exhausted. “We have been working multiple shifts at a stretch. The movement of the medical staff has been restricted due to the curfew,” said a doctor who did not wished to be named. “We are not sure how many of the injured will regain their eyesight,” he added.

Shooting protesters in the eyes is a deliberate tactic, since the official procedure demands that protesters be targeted below the waist.

Children are a common sight at hospitals. According to a report by The Hindu, 14% of pellet gun victims are under the age of 15.

Children are a common sight at hospitals. According to a report by The Hindu, 14% of pellet gun victims are under the age of 15.

If any doubt remains, let’s take Nasir’s example. No more than five years of age, I found him lying on the hospital bed, his left eye heavily bandaged. His father tells me that Indian security personnel grabbed his son and inserted a sharp metal object into his left eye. They alleged that Nasir had abused them, therefore the treatment he received was fully deserved. I asked if the boy was pelting stones at the Indian troops at the time and the father replied that the family was merely passing by amidst the strict.

Nasir’s story is just one of the many stories at this hospital.

I tried to capture some of these stories in my camera.

3

According to the Indian army’s guidelines, protesters should be targeted below the waist by pellet guns. But most of the victims are shot above the waist.
Doctors are not sure how many of the victims will fully recover. These injuries are likely to scar a victim for the rest of their life.

Doctors are not sure how many of the victims will fully recover.
These injuries are likely to scar a victim for the rest of their life.

These injuries are likely to scar a victim for the rest of their life. Victims include teenagers.

These injuries are likely to scar a victim for the rest of their life.
Victims include teenagers.

Victims include teenagers. A pellet gun launches a cloud of 600 small lead pellets toward the target with high velocity

Victims include teenagers.
A pellet gun launches a cloud of 600 small lead pellets toward the target with high velocity

A pellet gun launches a cloud of 600 small lead pellets toward the target with high velocity Every hospital in Kashmir is working on full capacity.

A pellet gun launches a cloud of 600 small lead pellets toward the target with high velocity
Every hospital in Kashmir is working on full capacity.

Every hospital in Kashmir is working on full capacity. Injuries to the eyes have brought widespread condemnation against the use of pellet guns.

Every hospital in Kashmir is working on full capacity.
Injuries to the eyes have brought widespread condemnation against the use of pellet guns.

Injuries to the eyes have brought widespread condemnation against the use of pellet guns. Dedicated medical attention is required to have any hope of recovering from the injuries.

Injuries to the eyes have brought widespread condemnation against the use of pellet guns.
Dedicated medical attention is required to have any hope of recovering from the injuries.

Dedicated medical attention is required to have any hope of recovering from the injuries. A father puts drops in his son's eyes.

Dedicated medical attention is required to have any hope of recovering from the injuries.
A father puts drops in his son’s eyes.

A father puts drops in his son's eyes. Some are relatively luckier for being shot in the torso and not in the eyes.

A father puts drops in his son’s eyes.
Some are relatively luckier for being shot in the torso and not in the eyes.

 

About the Author

Shahid Tariq

- is a SEO Consultant. He has over 4 years of experience in SEO, e-commerce, content strategy and digital analysis. Shahid has helped grow businesses through more effective search marketing and SEO strategies.

Pin It