By Aakiz Bhat:
It has been 90 days (and counting), since a curfew had been imposed in Kashmir Valley, following the recent unrest.
The unrest had begun in Kashmir following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani. Since then, more than 10,000 people have been injured and more than 350 people have been blinded by pellets.
Pellet guns have proven to be a lethal weapon against Kashmiris. It has blinded them, mostly the youth. Now they have to lead life without the ability to see. Whatever dreams they had, they are now shattered by this so called ‘non-lethal’ weapon.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, on his visit to Kashmir, has promised an alternative to this pellet gun. But so far, pellet guns have continued to blind Kashmiris. The government still hasn’t put a complete ban on pellet guns. Apparently, these pellet guns will only be used only in the rarest of the rare situations according to the government. But one fails to understand what this sort of a situation is characterised by.
Every time I step out, I see policemen carrying pellet guns. Every time I see this gun I wonder as to how it has ruined lots of lives, shattered dreams and has filled lives with darkness. Hospitals are filled with pellet stories.
Most of these pellet victims are in their teenagers. They had a life ahead of them. By blinding them, pellets have blinded their entire life. This has affected their families too. Mainstream media mostly does not talk of pellet gun victims and survivors, they are ignored. But ‘ignorance’ cant change the truth about the damage pellets have caused.
Can’t we have an actual non-lethal weapon which will not blind people? So every single time there is an unrest in Kashmir, we wouldn’t lose lives to blindness or for good. But for now it seems like a distant ‘dream’. The government is not even able to break the present unrest, so coming up with a better option of crowd control seems to be almost improbable as of now.