Amnesty International urges government to ban pellet guns

Kashmir: '#StopPelletGuns' campaign launched by Amnesty International India

Amnesty International calls for criminal inquiry into use of pump action guns in Kashmir

Srinagar- Rights body Amnesty International on Wednesday called for an end to the "dangerous, inaccurate and indiscriminate" usage of pellet-guns by security forces when controlling crowds in strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir as it released a report on the controversial weapon.

Two of the victims had been completely blinded.

At least 16 personnel from the Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police were treated for pellet injuries in border district of Kupwara in 2016, the report said adding the group had sought further information from J&K police and CRPF but those were not provided by the security agencies. "We have raised the issue with the government and it has assured us that the pellet guns will be used in extreme situations".

Patel said that Amnesty has been working on Kashmir for long.

"This is the human cost of the government's heavy-handed crackdown in Kashmir", it said. "Since 1989, no case or FIR registered against forces has been acted upon".

An global human rights group urged India on Wednesday to immediately ban the use of shotguns by government forces in suppressing protests against Indian rule in disputed Kashmir, saying pellets fired by the weapons have blinded and killed people indiscriminately. "Authorities should also provide full reparation in line with worldwide standards to those injured by pellet-firing shotguns and to the families of those killed".

Kashmir: '#StopPelletGuns' campaign launched by Amnesty International India
Beyond eyesight, 2016 victims are losing mental peace

Aakar Patel said, "In his Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Modi said that change in Kashmir will not come from guns or abuses - nagoli, nagali".

The report documented the cases of 88 pellet victims whose eye was damaged by metal pellets fired by the JKP and CRPF between 2014 and 2017. However, injury and death caused by this cruel weapon bear testimony to how risky, inaccurate and indiscriminate it is. "It is irresponsible of authorities to continue the use of these shotguns despite being aware of the damage they do". "Despite surgeries, I have not been able to regain my eyesight", she said.

"These inherently inaccurate shotguns fire hundreds of metal pellets which spread over a wide area", the report said.

The AI India report said that the pellet shotguns and the manner in which they have been used in Kashmir violate worldwide standards on the use of force.

"Unfortunately the central government has turned down requests for information about pellet shotguns". There are no proper ways to use petllet-firing shotguns.

Wani said the state government has done little to support those injured and disabled by this weapon. "Though it was not very effective, the pellet guns have been used less compared to earlier", he said on Monday. Spokespersons from Amnesty International India including Aakar Patel and some of the victims also spoke at the event. Read Also: Indians are safe in Kashmir, Kashmiris are not safe in India: Burhan Wani's father "Authorities have a duty to maintain public order, but using pellet shotguns is not the solution". "Security forces must address stone-throwing or other violence by protesters by means that allow for better targeting or more control over the harm caused".

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