Amnesty for ban on pellet shotguns in Kashmir

Amnesty for ban on pellet shotguns in Kashmir”

The report says that pellet-firing shotguns used by government forces in Kashmir are responsible for blinding, killing and traumatizing hundreds of people in Kashmir.

"Authorities have a duty to maintain public order, but using pellet shotguns is not the solution", Patel said.

Two days after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the pellet guns were now being sparingly used in Kashmir, the worldwide human rights watchdog Amnesty global India Wednesday called on Government of India (GoI) to stop the use of pellet guns in Kashmir.

The body also launched a campaign urging chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and Union home minister Rajnath Singh to immediately end the use of the pellet-firing shotguns in the restive state.

Stating that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech said that change in Kashmir will not come from guns or abuses, Amnesty said that if the government truly meant this, they must end the use of pellet-firing shotguns, which have caused enormous suffering in Kashmir. "If the government truly means this, they must end the use of pellet-firing shotguns, which have caused enormous suffering in Kashmir", said Aakar Patel, Executive Director at Amnesty International India.

According to the Amnesty report, school-going boys and girls have lost vision in one or both eyes, and have difficulty reading, playing with their friends, or watching TV. "Young men and primary breadwinners of families say that they can not earn a living anymore, that they are now a liability for their families", it says. Many have not regained their eyesight despite repeated surgeries.

Senior Campaigner at Amnesty International India Zahoor Wani said that the pellet victims complained about "psychological, physical trauma, hypertension and memory loss".

Wani said the state government has done little to support those injured and disabled by this weapon.

After a spate of gruesome injuries a year ago that earned the title "epidemic of dead eyes", Amnesty and other rights groups called for a complete ban on the use of the shotguns. It also mentions a list of 16 men identified as being members of the Jammu and Kashmir armed police who suffered various forms of injuries caused by pellets. AI India claimed that they wrote to the JKP and CRPF for further information, but no responses were received. "Security forces must address stone-throwing or other violence by protestors by means that allow for better targeting or more control over the harm caused".

It also recommended full reparation in line with global standards be provided to those, who have been injured by pellet-firing and to the families of those killed.

Although shotguns have been in use in Kashmir since 2010, government forces fired them widely during months of civilian protests against Indian rule in 2016 after Indian forces killed a popular militant leader.

Immediately stop the use of pellet-firing shotguns to police demonstrations, and ensure that the use of other weapons is in line with global human rights standards on the use of force.

Provide relevant training on crowd control measures and the use of force and firearms to security force personnel of the central and state governments, as laid out in the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials and UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials.

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