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AI demands ban on pellet guns in Kashmir
‘Losing sight, Impact of Pellet guns’ report released
SRINAGAR, Sep 13: Human rights watch dog, Amnesty International India today asserted that use of pump-action shotgun (pellet gun) ‘violates’ international standards and that the government must ‘prohibit’ its use in Kashmir valley.

“Violence in any form including stone pelting is unacceptable to Amnesty, but if violence takes places anywhere, it does not legitimise the use of pellet gun also known as shotgun which is used for bird hunting usually,” said Akar Patel, Amnesty International Executive Director during AI’s report release, ‘Losing Sight in Kashmir, The Impact of Pellet Guns’ at a local hotel here.

Patel averred that pellets are ‘unmanageable’ which at times injures operator himself “around sixteen security forces personnel have been injured while operating shot-guns during protests in Kashmir”

He said that inflicting violence against violence does not suits the international standards hence the state and the central governments keeping in view the recommendations of Amnesty International should ban the use of pellet guns in Kashmir.

“We take up this issue with the government which has assured that pellets will be used in extreme situations only, they should use other weapons while dealing protesters instead of pellet guns as the government also understands that the damage caused by the pellets is disproportionate,” added Patel.

The Amnesty chief further said that police has lodged many FIR’s vis-à-vis human rights violations in Kashmir since 1989; however there has been no reply from MHA till date, “there must be a reply from MHA as to whether the perpetrators should be tried in civil courts or not”.

Patel however strongly advocated that the trail of perpetrators involved in human rights violations be conducted in civil courts only.

Shailesh Rai, Senior Policy Advisor at Amnesty International while advocating ban on use of pellet guns claimed that lethal weapons violates internal standards.

He said United Nations Cord of Conduct does not approve use of lethal weapons as the same violates international standards.

“Any weapon used for mob control must not bring in use from close range and that the risk to third person is supposed to be minimized. CRPF assertions that pellets are used for stone throwing youth are misleading,” said Rai.

Rai claimed that people who watch protests from windows or are near the place where protest take place are also being targeted.

“Pellet is not proportionate as this is meant for visions lose; using pellets on protesters is not way instead less harmful weapons should be used on such occasions. We recommend compensation to the victims who were either killed or maimed,” he added.

Rai also claimed that the state government and police have failed to response on how causalities take place.

“Our stand on pellet guns has been clear, and we will continue to work what the constitution has recommended. We will also start a campaign on international level that use of pellets should be prohibited and that a pressure be mounted on India against using pellets,” he added.

Meanwhile, the report presents the cases of 88 people whose eyesight was damaged by metal pellets fired from pump-action shotguns used by the Jammu and Kashmir Police (JKP) and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) between 2014 and 2017.

Shabroza from Rehmoo Pulwama, who was injured by pellet-firing shotguns, said that she has faced serious physical and mental health issues, including symptoms of psychological trauma. “I face difficulties during my studies and my memory has become very dull. Despite surgeries, I have not been able to regain my eyesight,” she said.

Zahoor Wani hailing from same village of south Pulwama said that in some cases, those injured by pellet-firing shotguns still have the metal pellets lodged in their skulls, near their eyes. “Doctors have been afraid to remove the pellets, fearing that it will affect eyesight, but they are not sure what the long-term effects will be,” the Senior Campaigner at Amnesty International India said.

News Updated at : Thursday, September 14, 2017
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