Pellets continue to ruin lives in Kashmir, though silently

Hiba youngest victim of pellet horror, figures reveal 645 youth suffer pellet injuries in 2018, 40 in eyes

Srinagar : Beyond the body count—240 militants killed in 2018 so far in various encounters, pellets that evoked strong criticism in 2016 by various international bodies including the Amnesty international are back in debate after the grave injuries inflicted on the 20-month-old Hiba.

Estimates suggest that in more than 500 incidents of stone pelting this year so far, 10,000 pellets were fired by the forces including police and the paramilitary forces personnel to quell the protestors, especially in the southern districts of Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag.

Figures suggest with Hiba becoming the youngest symbol of pellet horror in Kashmir, 645 youth, most of them sustained pellet injuries. “Of them, 40 were hit in eyes and the rest in back, arms and legs,” the figures available with the KNO, collected from various Government Medical College (GMC) associated hospitals, reveal.

Most of the injuries inflicted on the youth have taken place in southern districts of Pulwama, Shopian followed by Kulgam and Anantnag. Hiba Jan, 20-month-old girl from Shopian, underwent two surgeries and doctors are not sure about she regaining her vision. Hiba has already undergone two surgeries in the past one week.

A Police officer while commenting on the use of pellets in Kashmir in 2018 said “pellets were used in extreme conditions when there was a threat to life of forces personnel.” “Pellets are the last option and are used in extreme conditions.

What can forces do when youth even climb the roof of security vehicles,” he said, wishing not to be used. In recent years, more than 6,000 people, mostly teenagers, have lost their eyesight fully or partially after being struck by the pellets, which are fired from iron shotguns used by forces to control demonstrations in Kashmir.


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