Rights Panel Seeks Fresh List Of Eye Pellet Victims

Srinagar: In order to get a clearer picture of how many youngsters have suffered wounds in eyes from shotgun pellets used by the government forces to curb street protests, the State Human Rights Commission has asked the government to submit a report on the number of protestors blinded in the 2016 pro-freedom protest demonstrations.

The direction was passed after Ahsan Untoo, Chairperson International Forum for Justice and Human Rights, filed a petition before the commission and sought its intervention.

The commission last year took suo-moto cognizance of the mass blinding in the Kashmir valley and asked the government to submit a report. The district administrators in eight of the ten districts submitted the report stating that at least 2,524 people were injured by pellets, many in the eyes.

Of these, the government had submitted a list to the commission of 1,725 victims, whose identities have been confirmed by the district administration. But the SHRC has once again asked the government to send the full list of the injured victims and also inform it how many of the pellet injured victims have been compensated.

According to the list submitted by the district administrator last year, in district Baramulla 1,252 victims, including 30 women have suffered pellet injuries. Of the 244 in Baramulla town, 65 suffered eye injuries. The data, compiled by the district administrators, further reveals that in Shopian 850 people have been injured, of which 67 suffered eye injuries. In Ganderbal 137 victims including 19 women suffered pellet injuries. The administration submitted data only from July 8 to August 21, 2016.

In Kulgam, 154 had received pellet injuries, 48 in Kupwara, 47 Pulwama, Srinagar 27 and Anantnag 9.

The commission has consistently been asking government to frame a policy for the sustenance and assistance of pellet victims and have also asked pellet victims to report to the commission directly.

International human right bodies have also voiced their concern against the use of pellet guns and have called upon the state to immediately stop their use. (GK)

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