8-yr-old’s torn lung testifies to pellet horror

Kashmir: His left lung ruptured and bleeding, chest consumed by pneumothorax-accumulation of gas-eight-year-old Junaid Mehraj from Nawab Bazar, Srinagar, who some say was a protester and others a bystander, has been hit by pellets.Across the aisle at SMHS hospital here, Adil, a 22-year-old from Anantnag, is blinded.

If there’s growing debate around use of pellets by the CRPF in containing the unrest in Kashmir, there’s no trace of it here. In the last 24 hours, more than 30 people with pellets wounds have been brought to Srinagar’s primary hospital. The SMHS hospital, which now looks like a clinic in a war zone, has by some accounts a massive 1,200 patients being treated for pellet injuries to the eyes.

Resident medical officer, Dr Shafkat Rasool, told TOI that 800 others have bullet wounds. “There are over 2,000 patients brought here after violence broke out on July 9. Doctors have pooled in resources and all are working 14 to 15 hours daily to han dle the rush. There’s chaos all around. It’s pathetic,“ he said. The CRPF told the J&K HC recently that it had fired 1.3 million pellets in 32 days of protest -the numbers have gone up since–but that if these are banned, its men will be forced to fire bullets to push back stone-pelting mobs which charge at them in hundreds, often thousands.

The forces said pellet guns were introduced in 2010, by the NC government led by Omar Abdullah, who is now asking for an end to it.

After images of 14-year-old Insha Malik appeared in the media, her eyes bandaged and blinded by pellets, she became the personification of damage caused by these deadly weapons. Amnesty International, which has been saying pellet guns are “inherently inaccurate and indiscriminate“, and that their utilisation is “not in line with international standards on use of force“, has reiterated its opposition to it. Referring to an RTI reply , the Wire in a recent report said pellet guns are not on the list of 10 non-lethal weapons suggested by the Bureau of Police Research and Development in its standard operating procedure for tackling violence.

With violence spiralling out of control and curfew for 45 days -the death toll was 67 on Monday-all eyes are on the panel constituted on July 26 to submit its report on pellet guns.

After 12 years, BSF deployed in Srinagar

The Border Security Force, which was taken off counterinsurgency operations in J&K in 2004, was on Monday deployed in Srinagar after 12 years. BSF personnel were deployed in the commercial hub of Lal Chowk in the city and adjoining areas for law and order duties, a police official said. Civil administration officials, BSF and police brass refused to comment on the deployment.