100’s maimed by pellet guns, reveals RTI

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SRINAGAR: According to the information obtained through Right to Information Act (RTI), by Kashmir Rights Monitoring Centre (KRMC), from SKIMS Medical College-Hospital Bemina, Srinagar, the extensive use of pellet guns to quell protests caused serious injuries to the protestors and the bystanders, including permanent blindness. 
The information obtained vide number SKIMS/MCH/24/2016/209-10 dated 21/01/2016, issued by the Dy Medical Superintendent (PIO) reveals  the  number of patients with pellet injuries admitted in the hospital from January 2015 to 31 December 2015 as sixteen.
Further patients with pellet injuries admitted in the eye ward, from January 2015 to 31 December 2015 was nine while pellet injury patients operated in the eye ward during the same period remained seven.
The RTI application was filed by Mannan Bukhari, head Kashmir Rights Monitoring Centre.
During the same period, out of nine patients admitted and treated in the Ophthalmology Department of the Hospital, two patients lost eyesight in both eyes, three patients lost eye sight in one eye and one patient recovered partial eye sight, the RTI revealed.
The RTI information further revealed that 48 patients with pellet injuries were treated in the Emergency Department of SMHS Hospital from October 2014 to November 2015 while as 42 of them were admitted in the Hospital.
The Department of Ophthalmology, Government Medical College, Srinagar in its response reveals that 38 pellet injury patients were admitted in this department from October 2014 to November 2015. And 32 patients with pellet gun injuries required an operative procedure in this department. 
The official communication of Department of Ophthalmology, Government Medical College, Srinagar further states, “32 of patients underwent Surgery (primary Repair) the same day and were discharged after few days however these patients didn’t turn up for follow up. So the exact number of eyes who lost their eye sight or whose eye sight was impaired is not known.”
Pertinently, during the year 2015, a number of youth hit by pellets evaded treatment in Valley Hospitals to escape arrests by Police but still serious pellet injuries to more than 45 persons were reported during the year.
“It has proved that the forces have mastered the art of making Kashmiri youth maim and blind them through ‘non-lethal’ means. But the inhumane approach adopted by the state to silence the genuine voice of the masses and to quell the civilian protests depicts the military mind set of the Indian state while dealing in Kashmir but such oppressive systems can kill individuals and incarcerate them but they cannot mute the voices of dissent forever,” Mannan said. “Out of these forty five pellet victims 42 persons became victim of pellet fires during the coalition government headed by PDP.”

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