Following the death of 21-year- old Hizbul Mujahideen leader, Burhan Wani, on 8 th July last
year, the valley has been in its worst phase of violence since 2010. The use of the so called
“non-lethal” weapons, which include pellet guns have caused unprecedented damage to the
Kashmiri youth, killing 96 people and injuring hundreds more in the past one year.
First introduced in 2010, these guns have several hundreds of small lead pellets, which
when shot, spread in different directions and ascend towards the protestor. Writing for the
“Frontline”, A.G Noorani labelled the Indian Government as ‘hypocrite’ and questioned why
the pellet guns are only being used in Kashmir, when more violent protests in Chennai this
year and Haryana last year, didn’t witness their use.
They cannot ensure well-targeted shots and risk causing serious injury, including to
bystanders”- Zahoor Wani, a senior campaigner for Amnesty international.
Riyad Ahmad Shah, an ATM guard, while returning from his duty was killed and the doctors found 300
pellets in his abdomen. According to leading Srinagar hospitals, an estimated 1130
Kashmiri’s, most being young and teenagers have fallen victims to these guns. J&K Pellet
Victims Association, a first of its kind, has been formed to demand justice.
They ask why guns meant for animals are being used on the people of Kashmir. The rubber pellet guns used by UN peace keeping forces are a much saner option.
With the rising atrocities committed of the Indian Army in Kashmir, there has been a
growing resentment against the government. Talking to the “The Caravan”, a Kashmiri
driver says, ‘These blinded youth are going to be the living memorials, reminding people in
their families and localities, as long as they live, of the brutality of the Indian state’. He
continues, ‘Hindustan bolta hai ki Kashmir uska atoot ang hai, lekin us ang pe kabhi dard nhi
hota hai’. The youth, which is infuriated, has come out in numbers, to protest against the
authorities. . The ‘Pro-azadi’ sentiment has risen significantly, which was evident when
20,000 people showed up at Burhan Wani’s funeral. A report by The Indian Express, tells
that 26 militants were killed in the month of February this year, which is double as
compared to the previous three years, which shows the rise in the number of militants in
the past one year. Also with the abysmal voter turnout(7%) in the recently conducted by-polls in parts of Kashmir, we can see a complete boycott of democracy and the pro-azaadi sentiment on rise.
Central government had formed a committee to review the use of the pellet gun, it
ultimately decided not to ban it. Though deflectors will now be introduced, which will
increase the accuracy from 40% to 90%. SC, in march 2017 has ordered that pellet guns can only be used in extreme and the most rare cases, bringing some plight to the
people of Kashmir. CM Mehbooba Mufti has announced Government jobs for the victims, but PM Modi maintains a firm stand against the protestors and the use
of pellet guns, which is a Human Rights Violation, according to The Citizen.