Democratic rights activist Mohammad Jibran Nasir and his colleagues at Never Forget Pakistan have launched a campaign to raise awareness about institutionalised State oppression from India in Kashmir and the use of pellet shot guns on civilians. Since the killing of militant leader Burhan Wani, the clampdown against Kashmiris has increased with many eye injuries reported including in young children. See following link,
“Pellet guns cause severe eye injuries in Kashmir”
Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) sources told Indian Express, “pellet guns are most effective because the cartridge contains hundreds of small pellets which spread out after being fired and cover a large part of the crowd.” However according to Dr Sajjad Khanday SMHS Opthalmology Ward, “an entire generation is being quietly blinded and maimed. We have seen hundreds of these cases in the last five years and it is continuing without any hitch.”
The campaign uses images of celebrities photoshopped with eye injuries and includes messages highlighting the injuries to Kashmiris calling on the world to stand against this brutality.
Mohammad Gibran Nasir wrote the following to introduce the campaign on Facebook,
“Never Forget Pakistan is a welfare society which works to create positive narratives and do advocacy on human rights. We do not suffer from any misplaced sentiment of nationalism. We speak against abuses be it by any state or government including our own.
Campaign: You know these faces. Does that make the tragedies more important? The stories in the letters are real. The names signed under the letter are real. Just the victim you see in the picture is not real. But do you care what is the profile of the victim for you to sympathise and empathise with them? For you to speak for them? Why do we need to glamourize a tragedy in order for people to pay attention. Have we all become that numb.
This campaign is designed to highlight the atrocities and abuses carried out by the Indian Armed forces and Police who enjoy complete immunity under the Armed Forced Special Powers Act which has made a mockery of India’s claim to be a secular democracy. Scores have been blinded, several killed and hundreds injured by what India describes as a “non-lethal” weapon i.e. the pellet gun. We condemn and lament the criminal silence and inaction of the Indian Government and Cultural icons of India. Furthermore we strongly condemn the pick and choose policy of Facebook which convenient censors posts highlighting the plight of the Kashmiris and later excuses itself by calling the censorship a “mistake”.
This campaign is not about jingoism. It is about trying to create empathy. We live in a sad world where we have to present genuine tragedies in a creative way just to make people pause and think for a moment.
As advocates for human rights we believe that Kashmir, independent of any force and influence from India and Pakistan should have the right to determine its own identity and future.”
A senior CRPF officer defended the use of pellet guns to Indian Express he said, “If there were no pellet guns, we would be using real guns as happened in 2010. There would be far more deaths and injuries. Given the kind of violent mobs security forces are facing in the Valley, there is little option among the available weapons. And therefore, the pellet guns,” see following link,
“Kashmir unrest: Of 317 with pellet injuries in action by CRPF, over 50 per cent have been hit in eye”
Khurram Parvez, Programme Coordinator Jammu Kashmir Coalition Civil Society (JKCCS) and Chairperson at Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) spoke of the many wounded with pellets stating,
“Just only at SMHS Hospital, Srinagar from 9th to 22nd July around 450 persons have been brought from various areas. Out of these 450 persons, 142 have eye injuries. 123 persons have gone through eye operations and among them 40 have both eyes affected. Doctors worry that many of the eye injured may lose their eyesight. He gave his approval of the campaign adding, “this needs to spread across. We hope more such campaigns will be undertaken by friends in India, Pakistan and elsewhere.”
Daily Tameel – i – Irshad shows injuries including pellet wounds in Kashmiris
Eye injuries in a young boy (Image via Rising Kashmir)
Syed Ali Geelani APHC Chairman, Chairman Tehreek-e-Hurriyat stated yesterday,
“intense clashes erupted in Anantnag town on Monday evening between protesting youth and armed forces. Scores of youth have also been injured in the clashes, many have pellet injures and are being treated at district hospital Anantnag. Occupation is a disease and atrocities are its symptoms. Treat disease, symptoms shall withdraw. End the Occupation, Free Kashmir. Detentions, Curfews, Killings, Pellets, Rapes; they are manifestations of occupation. When occupation ends the manifestations will end itself.”
“What are pellet guns and why are they so lethal?”
“Kashmir and the Inheritance of Loss”
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad . She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.