Published On: Thu, Aug 24th, 2017

Pellet Rain In Paradise

Pellet Rain In Paradise

Researched & Compiled by Hassan Banna Ms. Attiya Asim

The long pending dispute of Jammu and Kashmir continues to take human lives every year, endlessly. In the year of 2016, the oppressed and suppressed people of Occupied Jammu and Kashmir have once again witnessed the worst kind of human rights violations by the hands of Indian forces. Kashmiri civilians have seen curfews, killings, torture, injuries, attacks on medical ambulances, assault on doctors & paramedical workers and crackdown on voluntary aid workers by various so called security agencies, raids, illegal detentions, disappearances, molestation, arson, Vandalizations of properties, restrictions on political, social and congregational religious activities, communication and Internet services ban and media gags throughout the year. However the year will always be remembered as “The year of Pellet Gun”.

The uninterrupted use of this horrific gun by the unbridled Indian forces has killed, blinded and maimed a huge number of Kashmiri civilians. The Security Forces, it is now widely accepted, have made and are making disproportionate and excessive use of pellet guns to deal with peaceful protests. “The Hindu”, a daily English newspaper published in India, has on August 19, 2016 reported that the Central Reserve Police Force(CRPF) told the Jammu and Kashmir High Court that it used 1.3 million pellets in just 32 days on Kashmiri civilians to control street protests.

PELLET GUN

PELLET GUN is a form of shotgun, usually used for hunting animals. The gun fires a cluster of small, round-shaped pellets, which resemble iron balls, with high velocity. A pellet gun cartridge can contain up to 500 such pellets. When the cartridge explodes, the pellets disperse in all directions. These metal pellets create a pattern 6 feet square at a distance of 60 yards from the place of shooting and hits anyone and everyone within the range. They are less lethal than bullets but can cause serious injuries, especially if they hit the eye. As per the statement of Dr. Qureshi, an ophthalmologist, when it goes in the eye, it rotates and destroys everything there inside. It releases a high amount of energy inside and thus the lens, the iris, the retina get matted up.

Kashmiris in general believe that there was a conscious decision to fire the pellets into the eyes of civilians to punish them for demanding the right of self-determination. The Forces are meant to follow Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which calls for targeting legs in extreme volatile conditions. However more than 90% of those injured have received injuries above the waist. “Government forces are deliberately aiming at chests and heads,” one of the doctors treating pellet victims in Srinagar hospital told the BBC on condition of anonymity. “They seem to be aiming to kill.” With the number of eye injuries Kashmiri citizens are facing, it is hard to believe that any attempt was made to fire below the waist. Pellet gun killings and blinding have been reported since 2010. However, this time pellet gun killings, and blinding have assumed monstrous proportions and far exceeded the number of such cases, reported earlier.

PELLET A NON-LETHAL WEAPON

Pellet gun is usually considered as a non-lethal weapon but, in occupied Kashmir, it has been converted into a lethal weapon by using some special and deadly cartridges. The doctors, who attended on pellet victims, support the observation. Indian Express of 16 July, 2016 quotes doctors at SMHS as saying that the pellets now used are “sharp edged and irregular”.

OPHTHALMOLOGIST VIEWS ON PELLET

A senior Ophthalmologist at the Hospital said that “foreign bodies (pellets) of new kind … For the first time the foreign bodies are more irregular and sharp edged, which causes more damage once it strikes the eye … “earlier we used to receive pellets which were round and homogeneous”. Another Ophthalmologist says, “These new pellets are more dangerous since these pellets have sharp edges, it is much dangerous, to what we used to see earlier”.

Dr. Natrajan, who operated upon those with pellet injuries, commenting upon the situation, states “this kind of situation is very rare. It is a disaster like situation and I am seeing such a situation for the first time”. He explains that a sharp edged pellet unlike a round pellet, pierces the eye ball and goes deep into the eye, resulting in a deeper injury, with least chance of restoration of eye sight.

Dr. Mahesh Shanmugam, who also conducted retinal surgeries at SMHS Srinagar, shocked by the situation says “this is not any ordinary situation. It is a race against time – this is war like situation as the number of this magnitude is unique”. He adds that most of the patients will need multiple surgeries.

Dr. Sudarshan K Kumar, who led the team of doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), a leading Delhi hospital, has said that the nature of the injuries was so severe that it was almost as if Kashmiri doctors were dealing with a “war-like situation”.

THE VICTIMS OF PELLETS

JUNAID AHMAD AKHOON (12)

Junaid, a grade 7th student was showered with pellets inside his home at Saidpora Srinagar. He neither was a part of any protest nor tried to provoke anyone. His dead-body was not spared either. Countless teargas smoke shells and pellets were fired on his funeral procession due to which 40 people sustained injuries. He was the only son of his parents. He was their eye-sight, their world. His mother wished that her lone son be buried in a graveyard next to his house so that she can see his grave every day and thus the elderly people decided to accept this helpless mothers wish.

NASEER AHMAD BHAT (20)

On Sep.6, 2016 at around 9.30 am Naseer walked out of his house without knowing anything about what was happening outside. All to his surprise he got shocked to see Ayaz Ahmad Bhat one of his neighbours being beaten ruthlessly by the men in uniform. Before he could intervene, the young Naseerwas shot with a number of pellets and that too from a close range. His heart and lungs got ruptured and this was undoubtedly a cold-blooded murder.

PARVEENA

Parveena was hit by pellets in the eyes on the 9th of August at her house in Aoowra Village of District Kupwara along with other members of her family including her 1 year old niece who got pellet shot on her back.

NASIR SHAFI QAZI (11)

Nasir Shafi of Harwan Srinagar was a 7th grade student of Green Light Secondary School. This boy was abducted by armed forces and then murdered mercilessly by pumping pellets into his young body. Nasir went missing at around 5 pm on Sep. 17, 2016. On the morning, when he was taken for burial, the so called security forces fired at the procession. They didn’t let him be properly buried. They imposed a strict curfew for the next five days.

YAWAR AHMAD DAR (18)

Yawar, a labor from Botengo Anatnag Was killed on Sep. 10, 2016. This South Kashmir boy was sitting at the Canal on a roadside when Indian CRPF raided his village. The unbridled troops started vandalising property, destroying cars parked outside and even attacked an electric transformer to deprive the villagers from electricity supply. On seeing Yawar, the trigger happy troops fired at him from a close range. He was rushed to the hospital but the pellets in his chest and abdomen proved fatal.

SHAHID AHMAD SEH (18)

The festival of Eid turned out to be a day of mourning for Muhammad Yousuf SEH when he heard the horrific news of the killing of his son by the indian forces. Shahid a 12th grade student from South Kashmir’s village Nagbal of Shopian district had left his home early in the morning on Sep.13, 2016 to offer Eid prayers at Shopian town. As soon as he along with some other friends reached near Bonne Bazar, the armed forces present there chased them and fired with pellets. Shahid received serious injuries and was taken to a hospital by his friend, 12 KMS far from where he was attacked, where doctors declared him brought dead.

ZUHRA (3)

Zuhra (3 year old girl from Qammarwari Srinagar, a student of kindergarten) was hit by pellets along with her elder cousin sister (Sobia Majeed, also received severe pellet injuries in her eyes and abdomen)

TAMANNA AASHIQ (10)

Tamanna Aashiq (10 year old girl) was hit by pellets in her face damaging her left eye when she was sitting with her mother on their kitchen window.

PARVEENA (35)

Parveena (35 year old young woman) from south Kashmir’s Shopian district was shot with a bullet damaging part of her kidney and spleen which had to be removed ultimately. She (wife of an agricultural labourer) was working in her fields when a bullet was fired at her that hit her in the abdomen on the evening of 30th July 2016.

SHAMEEMA (22)

Shameema a 22 year old girl from South Kashmir’s Islamabad town was shot with a bullet on July 9th that hit her on the left side of her abdomen resulting in her gut perforation, burst fracture, damage to the spine. The young lady is now paraplegic (meaning motionless below waist)

NAZEERA (80)

Nazeera (80 year old lady) of Buchoo kamla Village of Tral, Pulwama was seriously injured with pellet fires when she along with her 85 year old husband tried to stop security forces from arresting their son on 20th August 2016.

SHANI 19

Shani 19 years old girl from Bijbehara was returning from her paddy fields on 9th of July when she along with her cousin was shot in the abdomen rendering her paraplegic.

RENU AKHTAR (27), ISHRAT AND HASEENA (18), RUBI SHAFI (45)

4 women from Semthan Area of South Kashmir were critically hurt with pellet fires all over the body on 8th of August. (Renu Akhtar got shot in her home only when she tried to take her 3 year old son to a safe corner in the home seeing the gothic behavior of the security forces),(Ishrat and Haseena both around 18 years old were hit by pellets in the face but God saved their eyes unlike the third lady Rubi Shafi’s right eye was devastated by pellets).

MASOODA TABASSUM (40)

Masooda from Anantnag was shot a bullet in her leg without any provocation on 11th July her husband Feroze also sustained pellet injuries in his thighs and chest.

SARA BANO (73)

Sara Bano from Goriwan Bijbehara sustained multiple fractures in her limbs when forces beat her mercilessly on 11th july when they barged into the houses of their locality and beat up people without any provocation. She was beaten along with her young son Muhammad Ashraf (37 years old) who also sustained critical injuries and was being treated alongside her mother at district hospital Anantnag.

SHAH JASMEEN

On 9th July another young girl Shah Jasmeen a student of 10th standard of Silgam Aishmuqam area of South Kashmir was shot with a bullet when she was outside her home.

INSHA MUSHTAQ MALIK (13)

Insha Mushtaq Malik a 13 year old girl (student of 9th standard) of Sedow Shopian area of south Kashmir was sitting in the veranda of her home when she was fired with a volley of pellets in her face which caused serious injuries to her face, neck and above all damaged both her eyes. The pellets were fired with such rage and accuracy that they have caused severe fractures to her skull and facial bones and disfigured the face apart from eyes of the poor girl.

IFRAH JAN (13)

Ifrah Jan (13) became the 980th patient to be admitted in SMHS Hospital with such injury (pellet injury in the eye) since 8th July 2016 after being hit on the 30th of October when she was itting in the lawn of her house when there were protests going on in her Village Rohmoo in Pulwama.

SHABROZA AKHTER (18)

Shabroza Akhter (18) having pellets inside her head was hit when she left home to look for her younger sister getting pellets in return damaging her left eye also after being hit on the 30th of October when there were protests going on in her Village Rohmoo in Pulwama.

SHABROZA BHAGAT (18)

Shabroza Bhagat (18) who kept lying on the road for around half an hour in an unconscious state till her brother located her and rushed her to the hospital; after being hit on the 30th of October when there were protests going on in her Village Rohmoo in Pulwama.

URFI RASHID (19)

Urfi Rashid (19) was hit by pellets on 31st October when she tried to peer through the window of her room to look as to what was happening outside at her Village Chitragam Kalan in shopian. Being the daughter of a simple farmer in shopian, her family is worried as they feel they won’t be able to afford her treatment.

WOMEN WHO DIED DURING THE PROTESTS

Yasmeena a 21 year old girl from Damhal Hanjipora Kulgam area of south Kashmir was shot with a bullet in her abdomen on 9th of July when she was beside a peaceful protest rally. She ultimately succumbed to her injuries at the hospital and died.

Saeeda Begum 45 years of age wife of Ghulam Hassan Mir of churath Qazigund area of south Kashmir was hit by a bullet on 18th of July, when the security forces entered their village at the evening time and went on a rampage and tried to arrest youngsters. The people came out against the high handedness and protested against it. The forces in return resorted to indiscriminate firing killing Sayeeda Begum and other young man Showkat Ahmad Ittu (25 years old) on spot and fatally injuring many others.

Neelofar jan wife of Fayaz Ahmad sheikh of Chowgam Qazigund got shot in the same event that killed Sayeeda Begum and Showkat. She was sustained critical bullet injuries and rushed to the hospital along with her 8 year old son Aqib Fayaz where she later died (19th July).

Nabiza of Churath Devsar sustained bullet injuries in the event that lead to the death of Sayeeda Begum and Neelofar Jan and she later succumbed to her injuries and died at the hospital

Jameela Khan 60 years of age wife of Abdul Rashid Khan of Bemina area of Srinagar died of a cardiac arrest on 11th of August, when she opened her window to see why the security forces were throwing stones at their houses. When she opened the window the security forces aimed their guns towards her causing her a heart attack leading to her death.

BLINDED HUMANS OF KASHMIR: THE LEGACY OF METAL PELLETS

Small metal pellets, a “non-lethal” weapon for crowd-control, have injured hundreds of Kashmiris. Their faces are scarred. Their eyes are damaged or simply gone, replaced with prosthetics. And their psychological wounds run deeper still. Some of those injured were protesters, others just bystanders.

Photojournalist Xuhaib Maqbool ended up losing vision in his left eye as he shot images of protesters chanting anti-India slogans and demanding “azadi” or freedom from Indian rule.

Photojournalist XuhaibMaqbool. (Photo: AP)

Firdous is a Kashmiri man who, like many others, lost vision in both eyes after Indian troops used shotguns to spray hundreds of metal pellets to quell an anti-India protest. “I was the only bread-earner of the family. It was my time to look after my old parents and my siblings, but now they have to look after me… What I miss most is being able to read the Holy Quran,” says Firdous.

Firdous Ahmas Dar. (Photo: AP)

Metal pellets, shot by the security forces, wounded Faisal Ahmad during a raid in his village in Karimabad. He lost eyesight in his left eye.

Faisal Ahmad. (Photo: AP)

Javed Ah-Dar was injured in both eyes by metal pellets when Indian forces raided Rahmoo village, in the district of Pulwama.

Javed Ah-Dar. (Photo: AP)

Suhail Ahmad was wounded by metal pellets during a protest that erupted after Burhan Wani’s death. He lost eyesight in one eye and was left with a scarred face. “My life has been ruined, what can I be now?”

Suhail Ahmad Mir. (Photo: AP)

Manzoor Ah-Dar from Rahmoo, in Pulwama, was injured in both eyes by metal pellets when Indian forces raided the village.

Manzoor Ah-Dar. (Photo: AP)

Danish Rajab Jhat says, “My left eye is completely damaged and with my right eye I can only see some sort of shadows, not clear vision.”

Danish Rajab Jhat. (Photo: AP)

Aamir Ashraf Hajam, from a village near Baramulla, lost his right eye six years ago when he was fired at by India security forces using a shotgun loaded with metal pellets.

Aamir Ashraf Hajam. (Photo: AP)

Tanveer lost eyesight in his right eye because of metal pellet injuries. “I was an earning hand of my family. I feel like the living dead.” he says.

Tanveer (Photo: AP)

PELLET VICTIMS SUMMER 2016

INTERNATIONAL CONCERNS ON PELLET FIRING

“I deplore the ongoing killings in India-held Kashmir as security forces there try to stamp out weeks of anti-government protests by Kashmiri civilians, and urge India and Pakistan to settle Kashmir and other issues through dialogue.

I stand ready to offer my good offices, should it be requested by both sides, to facilitate dialogue in order to achieve a negotiated settlement. I deplore the loss of life and hope that all efforts will be made to avoid further violence.”

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General (from January 2007 to December 2016)

Indian authorities had used force excessively against the civilian population under its administration. We furthermore received conflicting narratives from the two sides as to the cause for the confrontations and the reported large numbers of people killed and wounded. I believe an independent, impartial and international mission is now needed crucially.

“United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights ZeidRa’ad al Hussein”

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/ DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=20474#sthash.WbpOx8ho. dpuf

“We are concerned over the grave situation in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir and call for an immediate cessation of Indian oppression and atrocities in the occupied territory. The government of India should settle the dispute peacefully, in accordance with the wishes of Kashmiri people and the United Nations Security Council resolutions. Though the Indian occupation forces can physically blind the Kashmiri people with pellet guns, they cannot block their vision for the realization of their right to self-determination.

OIC Secretary General, Iyad Ameen Madani (OIC contact group on Jammu & Kashmir in New York on September 19, 2016)

“The use of the PSA to detain people, particularly children, violates a range of human rights, and its increasing use in recent weeks undermines the rule of law and further entrenches impunity in Kashmir. Police should end the use of the PSA; if people are suspected of committing offences, they should be properly charged and given fair trials.”

Sam Zarifi (Asia Director, International Commission of Jurists)

“The resolution of the Kashmir dispute was important to bring regional peace in South Asia.

Kashmir issue is the major obstacle in Pak-India relations and its humanitarian aspect requires urgent attention of the international community.”

Mevlut Cavusoglu (Foreign Minister of Turkey) In an OIC contact group meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly Sep 20, 2016

BørgeBrende has turned the situation in Kashmir as very delicate situation in Kashmir and has also offered that his country is available for mitigating tension between Pakistan and India over Kashmir.

BørgeBrende Norwegian Foreign Minister

http://idrw.org/norway-ready-mediate-india-pakistan-kashmir/

“The tragic recent history of Kashmir arose from the partition of India, which was managed by Britain after world war two. Does not Britain therefore have a special responsibility to help to find a solution to Kashmir’s troubles and the suffering of the Kashmiri people?”

Kelvin Hopkins, British MP during a debate on Jammu & Kashmir in British Parliament, 18 Oct 2016

https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2016-10-18/ debates/7BE917AC-E09B-44C4-B796-5844AFC24BD9/ Kashmir

“As Kashmir deals with the worst outbreak of unrest in six years, hospital wards are filled with partially or fully blinded victims of pellet injuries, some under 10 years old”.

http://time.com/4423531/kashmir-india-conflict-srinagar/

“Jammu and Kashmir was never a part of India. It is a historical fact. Even the Indian government has to accept this”.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kashmir-was-never-integral-part-of-india-arundhati/article847323.ece

“A pellet is a high-velocity projectile 2mm to 4mm around and with sharp edges. It doesn’t simply penetrate an eye; it ricochets inside it, tearing the retina and the optic nerves, scooping out flesh and bone”.

“In Kashmir, Indian security forces use pellet guns that often blind protesters, Kashmir suffers worst violence in years after their leader’s death, If the cycle of violence has a predictability to it, so does a smaller, less noticed aspect of it: gunshot wounds inflicted by Indian security forces. These injuries occur mostly above the waist, often in the protesters’ eyes”.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/07/12/in-kashmir-indian-security-forces-use-pellet-guns-that-often- blind-protesters/

“In the roll call of atrocity that constitutes news these days, the killing and maiming in Kashmir, and the upsurge of anti-Kashmiri hatred in India, has barely been noticed. But they reveal most clearly that the impulse to identify, ostracize and eliminate various supposed enemies is increasingly licensed everywhere by popular sentiment. The tyrannies of our age, it seems, may be as much consolidated from below as dictated from the top”.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-07-26/a-brutal-majoritarianism-in-kashmir-and-elsewhere

The summit affirmed support to the Kashmir struggle and said it could not be equated with terrorism

http://nation.com.pk/columns/17-May-2016/indian-policy-in-occupied-kashmir

“The steel pellets used by police and troops are officially a “non-lethal weapon”, but those wounded will live in partial or total darkness”.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/ jul/18/india-blinding-kashmiri-protesters-justice- steel-pellets

“The street demonstrations are fuelled by a historical and definitive political ideology for freedom from India, and no one should mistake it for ordinary rioting. These demonstrations often are local and visceral ventures, commandeered intuitively and propelled by young bodies more fit mentally and physically for street battles. Over the last one decade the street battles have become a prominent motif of the culture of resistance that historically prevails in Kashmir; its own home-grown ‘intifada’ against India. Older Kashmiris may not be seen in such large numbers on the streets, but this does not mean they are outside the uprising. Importantly, the Kashmiri youth being on the streets today is a continuation of every previous generation of Kashmiris who have been at it: in every decade since 1947 and before”.

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/ather-zia/wake-up-and-smell-kashmirs-undying-resistance/

“Relevant parties could resolve the issue through peaceful means”.

Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang (CHINA)

http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/xwfw_665399/ s2510_665401/t1344999.shtml

”Indian security forces deliberately use rubber pellets to inflict maximum damage on Kashmiri protesters, although rubber pellets are not fatal, when fired by hydraulic pump action guns they can cause blindness, disfigurement and damage to organs”.

h t t p : / / w w w. a l j a z e e r a . c o m / n e w s / 2 0 1 6 / 0 7 / kashmiri-doctors-lament-injuries-pellets-protests- 160712201432612.html

The use of pellet guns in Kashmir is a clear violation of human rights and humanitarian law – and needs to be banned immediately”,

http://thewire.in/53038/kashmir-lethal-pellet-guna/

“Indian authorities should credibly and impartially investigate police use of force during violent protests in Jammu and Kashmir State that have killed more than 30 people and injured hundreds”.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/07/12/india-investigate-use-lethal-force-kashmir

“We are obviously concerned by the violence and we want to see the tensions de-escalated. We encourage all sides to make efforts towards finding a peaceful resolution.”

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-we-encourage-all-sides-to-make-efforts-to-find-peaceful- resolution-us-on-kashmir-2245756

We are equally concerned about the casualties in the clash, and hope that relevant incident will be handled properly. The Kashmir issue is left over from history

http://www.thefrontierpost.com/article/399104/china-concerned-over-kashmir-clashes/

“We are concerned at the use of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act against Mr. Parvez, which permits administrative detention without judicial intervention for up to two years,” the experts highlighted.

“We have received allegations of this law often being arbitrarily applied to target human rights defenders,” they added, noting with alarm the lack of clarity as to why the Indian authorities have deemed it necessary to address this case outside the country’s ordinary laws.

http://www.ohchr.org/SP/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=20697&LangID=E#sthash. NA1VhAKL.dpuf

“These extrajudicial killings and abrasive human rights violations should stop forthwith. There should not be any impunity for human rights violations. An independent, fair and transparent inquiry should be conducted against the individuals responsible for these killings and culprits must be held accountable at all levels.”

OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), 14 July 2016

http://www.brecorder.com/top-news/pakistan/308879-oic-calls-for-immediate-end-to- extrajudicial-killings-of-kashmiris-in-iok.html

“Security forces are using arbitrary and excessive force in response to protests in Jammu and Kashmir, violating international standards and worsening the human rights crisis in the state. Pellet-firing shotguns have injured and blinded even peaceful protestors and bystanders. Children have been hit by pellets from these shotguns while sitting inside their homes. These weapons are inherently inaccurate and indiscriminate and always carry the risk of causing serious injury to people who are not engaging in violence. There is simply no proper way to use these weapons, and they should be prohibited. The continued abusive use of pellet-firing shotguns, along with the deployment of the PAVA shells, is extremely worrying.”

Amnesty International India, 12 September 2016

http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/press-releases/india-global-standards-on-police-use-of-force- violated-in-kashmir

In seeking to quell the protests, security forces deployed an arsenal of weaponry that they reported to be “less than lethal,” but these weapons in fact caused deaths and serious, often permanently debilitating injuries. The weapons, which security forces used against both peaceful and stone-pelting protesters, included tear gas grenades, pepper gas shells, 12-gauge shotguns firing “birdshot,” and live ammunition. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) recommends to hold those responsible for the use of excessive force particularly cases resulting in death and injury.

http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/library/reports/ kashmir-report-dec-2016.html

Frontline Magazine, August 19, 2016 in its cover story titled “Pellet Raj” quotes a Senior IPS official in Union Ministry stating on July 21, 2016 “the use of pellet guns is excessive for controlling crowds”. The cover story quotes statement of an official reported in Telegraph of 22 July, citing the riots in Haryana, and Gujarat and asking “why pellets were used only in Kashmir”. The Magazine also refers to statement of a doctor that “we have never seen anything of this magnitude. Everyone who came here (in hospital) has pellet wounds above the chest” and another doctor at SMHS observing “the objective definitely seems to be to kill or maim the person for life”. In the words of the author, this explains the preference for pellet guns.

Sita Ram Yechuri, CPI (M) leader and a well-known parliamentarian reminded the Indian Parliament that “even Israel did not use pellet guns in Palestine”

The teenage Nobel laureate Malala Yousufzai called on the United Nations, the international community, India and Pakistan to work together to improve the conditions in Kashmir. She said that the Kashmiri people, like people everywhere, deserve their fundamental human rights. They should live free of fear and repression.

 

Story Of ATM Guard Who Had 360 Pellets Inside Him

By Khizer

“My body was taken for autopsy and the doctors found 360 pellets in my body. However, the police said that my case was just a regular murder with some sharp object. Irony.”

My name is Reyaz Ahmed; I worked as an ATM guard in Srinagar. It was the fateful night of August 3rd; I had completed my shift and was leaving towards my home in Chattabal. My sister’s wedding was to take place only 4 days later; it was a really emotional time for me, my sister was getting married; I loved her very much and I would miss when she’d go to her new home.

As I was on my way home on my scooty, my elder brother Shakeel, who works in NDTV, called me; he was worried as the night was getting darker and darker, he wanted me to reach home quickly as the forces unnecessarily stopped travelers during dark hours. I picked up the phone and said, “I have left my workplace and I am on my way.”

This time the ride home felt as if it was taking longer than usual. I wanted to get home early and spend some time with my family. Twenty minutes later, my brother called me again, I said I would only take a few more minutes as I was very near and there was no traffic. All this time; the images of my family flashed before my eyes, I don’t know why I was missing them like I had not seen them for weeks, especially my sister who would be a bride in few days time.

There was silence everywhere, I could hear the dogs barking from a distance; suddenly I heard someone shouting, “Headlight band Karo, Headlight band karo” (put off the headlights, put off the headlights); it was CRPF men who had erected a makeshift checkpoint on the road that lead to my home. They asked me several questions; angrily, I kept telling them I am a civilian and I have to go home; my family is waiting for me. I showed them my license and my identity card; they had no interest in those.

Mother was bidding tearful adieu to Reyaz.

For no reason, for no reason at all; one of them starting kicking me; others joined too; I fell from my vehicle; they started beating me with their canes; yelling at me, Azaadi chahiye, pathar marega ( do you want freedom now? Want to throw stones, eh?). They held my arms and legs and dragged me some 50 yards and threw me on the footpath. All this time; I wanted to talk to my family, just once; they must have been waiting for me; I wanted to tell them I am fine; I’ll be home shortly; do not worry.

Suddenly I heard a loud burst; I was hit, I was hit by a pellet gun; my body felt like burning; blood oozed from every organ of my body. The CRPF men left, “mar gaya Kashmiri, sala”(this kashmiri moron is dead).

My brother Shakeel called again; Alas! I wasn’t alive anymore; I couldn’t answer. He kept calling repeatedly while my lifeless body was getting colder and colder. I was found by a few passers-by and taken to SHMS Hospital; one of them called my brother and informed.

The hospital was already overcrowded with the number of pellet victims; I was another victim of the Indian atrocities; another addition to the long lists of those killed by the Indian forces.

Reyaz Ahmed’s tearful funeral procession

My body was taken for autopsy and the doctors found 360 pellets in my body. However, the police said that my case was just a regular murder with some sharp object. Irony.

My name is Reyaz, I worked as an ATM security guard, do not forget me.

Disclaimer: This story is narrated as if it is in first person. The situation has been fictionalized, but at the same time, utmost care has been taken by the author to stay close to facts as reported by eyewitnesses and news stories.

Author writes for with kashmir.com and can be reached at khankhizr7@gmail.com.

The Dead Eyes of   Kashmir Pellet Victims

(Kashmir Crisis, July 22), there is a culture of brutal disdain among the Indian troops stationed in IHK for the local population because “Kashmir is subject to India’s Armed Forces Special Powers Act which grants the military wide powers to arrest, shoot to kill, occupy or destroy property”. It further said that a major cause of the uprising is the resentment among Kashmiri youth who have come of age under an Indian security apparatus that acts against civilians with impunity. Clearly, the international media does not seem to be in the mood to be taken in this time by Indian propaganda blaming Pakistan for its troubles in IHK.

International New York Times editorial

PELLET RAIN IN PARADISE

Email: saleeemwani@hotmail.com

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