Bar demands ban on pellet use

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Srinagar: Expressing anguish over use of pellet guns in valley, High Court Bar Association Kashmir Thursday said that pellets have virtually proved a lethal weapon, as the seriousness of injuries caused by it apparently suggests so.

Addressing hurriedly called press conference at Press Enclave here, Bar General Secretary Bashir Siddique said that out of 107 eye pellet injury cases, 96 patients are at the verge of losing eyesight forever.

“Pellets have injured hundreds of people in valley from past six days. Ninety nine percent of people have sustained serious pellet injuries on head, face and chest. Out of 107 eye injury cases, 96 have been operated by the doctors at SMHS,” he said while quoting the assessment made by Bar Association team, which he said visited various hospitals, in Srinagar.

“Doctors told the team of Bar Association that out of these 96 patients, forty have been discharged from the hospital but with instructions to come for follow up. Doctors fear that all these patients would lose eye sight forever,” he added.

The Bar Association also ridiculed the claims of government that pellets and bullets were used to control the mob.

“Government is claiming forces and para-military forces to be the disciplined forces. We want to ask that do disciplined forces fire on the head and chest of people to control the mob. The injuries on the head face and chest on the body of injured itself is evident that forces fired on people with intention to kill and not to disperse them,” he said.

He added that only SMHS hospital is having the unit of ophthalmology, adding, “It also worries us as injured persons who need special treatment of ophthalmology are referred to SMHS when hospital have less men and machinery to cater effectively to every patient in need.”

He said that patients having eye injuries and asked by medicos to come for follow up, don’t turn back (for follow up). “It is because they fear police will book them, arrest them. Thus is height of atrocities. First forces fire pellets and bullets on peaceful protestors and then put injured persons under instant fear and threat which results in denial of treatment to injured,” he added.

He said J&K Liberation Front had earlier filed public interest litigation (PIL) in High Court, seeking ban on the use of pellets. “However, the PIL was dismissed but the HC set up the one man commission headed by Justice ML Koul to look into whether forces follow SOP while dealing law and order situation. We are yet to see the light of that report,” he said.

Condemning the use of “brutal force by forces” and civilian killings, he said Zohra, a three year old girl was also injured by the pellet.

“Was she (three year old girl) also protesting? She was hit by pellet when she was coming out from her house holding the hand of her blind father. Forces, even before firing indiscriminately on the public don’t follow special operation procedure,” he said.

He added that another girl from Qamarwari has also been seriously injured by the pellets.

“The fact is that these pellets which authorities claim to be non-lethal weapon, have proved lethal weapons,” he said.

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