According to SHRC chairman Justice (retd) Bilal Nazki, the commission had sought records of those who suffered eye injuries due to pellets from all the 10 districts in the Valley in December last year.
At least 2,524 people were injured by gun pellets in eight of the 10 districts in the Kashmir Valley during the crackdown on protests that followed the killing of militant Burhan Wani on July 8 last year, according to data compiled from official records by the J&K government for the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC). Of these, the government has submitted a list to the commission of 1,725 victims, including 59 women, whose identities have been confirmed by the district administration. Concerned by the extent of damage, official sources told The Indian Express that the state government is devising a comprehensive policy to help those blinded or partially blinded by pellets including government jobs, such as those of telephone operators, for the “worst affected”.
According to SHRC chairman Justice (retd) Bilal Nazki, the commission had sought records of those who suffered eye injuries due to pellets from all the 10 districts in the Valley in December last year. The SHRC is yet to receive data from Bandipore and Budgam. The J&K government has handed over from the Chief Minister’s relief fund Rs 2 lakh each to 12 victims who have been blinded completely by pellets and Rs 1 lakh each to 10 who have been partially blinded. The government is also planning to utilise a programme by DPS Srinagar co-founder Vijay Dhar for children with special needs to train pellet victims for jobs. Firdous Ahmad Dar, 25, of Maaz Bugh in Sopore, who lost his eyes, is among the 12 who received Rs 2 lakh from the relief fund. On Saturday, Dar said, he received a call from the Chief Minister’s office, asking him to submit relevant documents for a job. He said that the compensation was helpful because he has nothing. His neighbours collected money for treatment initially. He hopes that government gives him a job so that he can take care of himself. And he also requested the government to stop the use of pellet guns. He added that most of the time, these pellets hit the eyes, and that is worse than killing a person.
The were several campaigns in Jammu and Kashmir against the use of pellet guns. The Srinagar-based Jammu Kashmir Coalition for Civil Society called for a complete ban on the use of pellet guns. The Opposition National Conference has also supported a ban. The ruling PDP shares this view but the government hasn’t agreed to a complete ban, saying that pellets will be used in “extreme situations”. J&K DGP S P Vaid said that police are not averse to a ban on pellet guns. Police are trying its best to not to use them. But there are situations when use of pellet guns becomes unavoidable. Police want them to be completely phased out and wherever there is a replacement, like PAVA shells, the use of pellet guns is not done.