Posts Tagged ‘Police’


Hamid Bhat is unlikely to regain vision in his right eye.

Hamid Bhat is unlikely to regain vision in his right eye.

Over 100 of them had pierced his face and skull

Hamid Nazir Bhat, 16, has lost vision in his right eye pierced by pellets, and nearly a hundred of these tiny iron balls have pierced his skull, jaws, lips, nose and brain. The police fired them during a protest in his village, Palhalan, in north Kashmir on Thursday.

As he lies unconscious on a hospital bed in Srinagar with swollen, purple eyelids and a bloodied face, his family has just one question: will he ever be able to see again?

The high-velocity pellets caused a vitreous haemorrhage in the right eye, and now his left eye holds out the only hope, Waseem Rashid, an ophthalmologist at Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Bemina, told The Hindu. “He had a corneal-limbal tear in the right eye, and we operated on it on Saturday. But he has no vision in it, and it seems he will not able to see with that eye again,” the doctor said.

The State police have been firing the “non-lethal” pellets at protesters across the Kashmir Valley. While the police allege that Hamid was taking part in a protest on the 25th death anniversary of Mirwaiz Molvi Farooq, his family said he was only going for tuitions.

The doctors say several patients have over a hundred pellets lodged in their skulls because they were hit from a distance of less than two feet with guns aimed at their faces.

Dr. Rashid said that over the five years since the mass protests in 2010, he had seen scores of such cases. But no definite record is available on the number of people disabled by pellet guns; doctors at the Bemina hospital and Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital put the figure at more than 700.

“And unfortunately, around 70 per cent of them lose their sight in one eye, and at times in both,” Sheikh Sajad, a senior ophthalmologist in Srinagar, told The Hindu. “While they haven’t been killed, their lives are ruined forever.”

Sources said that despite a government order that pellet guns be used sparingly in Srinagar, they are used regularly in the downtown areas of the city and across villages in the Valley. Police officers say one cartridge contains 400-500 pellets, resembling ball bearings. They come in grades of five to 12, five being the largest, fastest and with the widest range. “Though written instructions have been given to use the number 9 pellet for crowd control, as it does not cause lasting damage, the directive isn’t followed. In villages, we see number 6 and 7 pellets being used regularly,” a senior police officer said. Most sensitive police stations in Kashmir receive regular supplies of number 5, 6, and 7 pellets, sources said.

“Many of our patients run away from the hospital with pellets and pus in their eyes because police spies note down their details, arrest them and often extort money,” an administrator said.

Minister says police told to curb use of pellet guns

Most cases of injuries caused by the indiscriminate firing of pellet guns by the Kashmir Police are reported from Palhalan, Pattan, Old Town Baramulla and Sopore in north Kashmir. In south Kashmir, Tral, Pulwama, Qoimooh and several other places have been affected.

In Srinagar, hospitals regularly have patients from the Old City, especially Nowhatta and Hawal.

Cause of concern

While the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed government has remained silent on the use of pellet guns, Education Minister Naeem Akhtar told The Hindu that the use of pellet guns was a cause for concern for the government.

“It does not show us in a good light. We have told the police again that they should curb the use of pellet guns,” Mr. Akhtar said. “But they have their own concerns, and we cannot really force them to stop using the pellets. We hope it will be curbed soon.”

“A large number of patients go to Delhi and Chandigarh for treatment. Many of these families are poor and often have to sell something for treating their children.” The family of Hamid Nazir Bhat, 16, who lost his vision in the right eye, says he was caught in the middle of a protest at Palhalan, in north Kashmir on Thursday.

“He was in school all day and then in the evening, he left for tuitions. At 6.30 p.m., we heard that he had been injured by pellets,” Hamid’s elder brother, Junaid Nazir, said. “When we saw his face, we couldn’t recognise him at all. It was a mass of flesh and blood.”

“When you fire a pellet gun, the cartridge bursts and immediately hundreds of pellets fly from a single point (in a funnel-like shape) hitting several people in the crowd simultaneously,” a police officer said.

Despite the call by human rights organizations to stop the use of weapons such as pellet guns and chilli grenades in tackling riots or mob fury, security forces in the Kashmir Valley continue to deploy the same with impunity. This has led to debilitating injuries and even death, reports Freny Maneksha. 

 •  Write the author
•  Human Rights
•  Send to a friend
•  Printer friendly version

25 April 2013 – “Killing us is better than making us blind.” This cry in total despair by a Kashmiri youth, who recently lost his vision, after a pellet gun injury, highlights the devastating manner in which seemingly “non lethal” weapons are continuing to be deployed in the Valley. In 2010 when security troops used pellet guns to quell protests and incidents of stone pelting, at least 45 youths suffered loss of vision because of pellet gun injuries, according to the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital in Srinagar.

Media reports estimate that in the current 2013 protests, following the execution of Afzal Guru, there have been at least 12 such cases of youths receiving very serious eye injuries with slim prospects of regaining vision. The youngest of them is a 13-year-old boy, Muzammil Qayoom Rather, who was hit in the eye as he stood at the window of his home in Baramulla district, North Kashmir. On 12 February, according to media reports, he leaned out of the window of his home in Sheeri to shout slogans even as protests were taking place in the streets below. He then received a hit in the eye by security forces who aimed at him.

Air gun pellets can cause serious eye injuries and can penetrate the skin, bone and even internal organs. Pic credit: Wikimedia

It was also on 12 February that nineteen-year-old street hawker, Tariq Ahmad Gojri of Sheeri, Baramulla district, received a hit in the eye. Gojri told the media he had ventured out only to buy bread for the family. He adds that he was unable to seek proper medical attention because of the curfew that was clamped then. By the time he got to a hospital, the tiny pellets had spread through the eye. His entire eyeball had to be removed. Doctors say that these types of penetrating injuries cannot always be treated effectively in district hospitals. But, patients from remote districts are hindered from seeking prompt or timely medical attention because of the oft-prevailing curfew and also because, they say, security troops detain ambulances and vehicles ferrying the wounded.

It is this kind of deliberate and inappropriate use of non- lethal weapons that has evoked widespread criticism by human rights organisations including Amnesty International. Pellet guns, which use hydraulic force to pump hundreds of bullets, can cause widespread injuries across the body. When aimed upwards they can cause serious eye injuries. Besides piercing the eyeball, pellet guns can cause penetration of skin, bone and even internal organs.

One major problem for doctors and medical teams treating such injuries is that since the pellets come out in scores, it hits large numbers of persons in many parts of the body. In 2010 Dr Syed Amin Tabish, medical superintendent of the Sher-I-Kashmir Medical Institute (SKIMS) Srinagar, explained to this correspondent that pellet injuries necessitated a big team of doctors attending simultaneously to a single person who may have suffered hits in the head, abdomen and limbs.

According to media reports, at least three people died in March because acrid fumes of the pepper gas grenades used to disperse crowds in many parts of old Srinagar exacerbated their medical conditions.
•  Maimed by the state, quietly
•  A death in the family

In the same year a medical study on pellet gun injuries was brought out by SKIMS based on the 198 patients who were brought in with pellet gun injuries. The study notes, “Whilst the pellet wound itself may seem trivial, if not appreciated for the potential for tissue disruption and injuries to the head, chest and abdomen, there can be catastrophic results.” Significantly it observed, “Patients should be evaluated and managed in the same way as those sustaining bullet injuries.” The study cautioned that pellet guns should not be used unless extremely necessary and personnel using them may be better trained so that people do not receive direct hits.

Other “non lethal” weapons like pepper gas and pepper grenades (also called chilli grenades) have also been deployed in the latest round of turmoil in Kashmir. According to media reports, at least three people died in March because acrid fumes of the pepper gas grenades used to disperse crowds in many parts of old Srinagar exacerbated their medical conditions. Among them was a sixty-year-old woman from Bemina, named Hazira. Her family members say that on 8 March, a stray pepper grenade landed in her home which worsened her asthma. She died the next day. Another pregnant woman reportedly suffered a miscarriage after she stumbled and fell ill on inhaling the fumes. Whilst these grenades may be aimed at youths protesting on streets, the elderly and young children can be particularly vulnerable to the gas that engulfs the atmosphere, according to doctors.

A doctor at the Soura Institute of Medical Sciences in Srinagar told the press that while they did not know the exact chemical composition of the gas its effects were particularly lethal for people with acute asthma or allergy.

Uzma, a young woman told this correspondent that the intensity of the gas was such that its effects can be felt within a radius of up to three or four kilometres from where it is deployed. �Your throat starts burning and itching and you can go on coughing violently for almost an hour and a half. The eyes start watering and this, too, continues for hours. It is really a horrific and frightening sensation.�

The use of pepper gas and resulting deaths rocked the assembly and the opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party, staged a walkout on 11 March. The Jammu & Kashmir State Human Rights Commission castigated the police and state. In its order, it said the “state is duty-bound under constitution and law to protect the lives of the citizens and in no case are at liberty or have license to adopt such measures which would endanger the health of its subject in the name of maintaining law and order.”

On 21 March, Amnesty International told the government to suspend the use of pepper spray grenades until rigorous independent investigations have been carried out to assess its effect. It has also asked for a proper investigation into the cause of deaths of the three persons. Shashikumar Velath, programme director of Amnesty International India, said the J&K government and police departments have clearly not established any guidelines for monitoring the use of this gas and it is yet another example of “unregulated and excessive use of force by police in J&K.”

Use of pepper sprays is permissible in India and it has been marketed as an effective means of self defence, but it was the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) that in 2008 announced it would begin work on its use as a non-lethal weapon against terrorists. Scientists told the media that they would be using Bhut Jholakia, a chilly grown in the North East, that is recognised as one of the world’s hottest chillies. India’s Defence Research Laboratory rates it as having 855,000 heat units on the Scoville range (which makes it 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce). These scorching chillies are used to make tear-gas like grenades. On ignition the oleoresin or thick, oily liquid which is absorbed in a composition reacts to liberate heat which evaporates and releases irritants in the atmosphere along with smoke.

The DRDO went ahead with its plans for such weapons even though Amnesty International and other organisations had declared that use of pepper sprays against peaceful protesters was “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.” It described the severity of its effects as “tantamount to torture.” Its use has been rejected in the United Kingdom because of potential carcinogenic properties.

In May 2011, according to a report in India Today, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) placed an order for as many as 10,000 chilli grenades at a whopping cost of Rs 1.51 crore to be deployed in Kashmir to disperse mobs. Besides the CRPF, the UP state police last year applied to the ministry of home affairs to purchase these pepper grenades which had not yet been tested. Kashmir is the first state in India where these untested grenades are currently being deployed. Interestingly whilst defence personnel and the DRDO have on various blogs and websites held discussions on its efficacy for crowd control, there has been little evaluation of its lethal effects and the fact that its use on unarmed civilian populations is considered a transgression of human rights in many other parts of the world.

Freny Maneksha 
25 April 2013

Freny Manecksha is an independent journalist based in Mumbai.


There was a woman whose life was
by electric shocks in her private parts.
… You talk about humanity?
There was a bride in a village. It was
her wedding day. Beasts ruined her
She and her aunt were raped by BSF….But wait, they
are for
security…. So do not shout, do not
protest_ you terrorists.
You talk about injustice?
There was a brother who was kept
ongun point by army, and two of his sisters were raped
in next room…..
He said
i was hearing cries of sisters and
laughs of beasts… But, it
though You talk about Rights? There was a 9th standard
girl, All
innocent and childish, her clothes
were torn
and kept naked for days…. Yes, by
security forces…. So
shhhh… dont say a word There was a village where they
treated females as hurd of
There was a mother, a sister who
went to fields, all happy…. alas they
came back on four shoulders, fell prey to
thelust of
beasts… But bodies were drowned,
stress full allegations.. plans by ISI,
suicides,probes ¬ ¬ ¬ , cross border
terrorism, Pakistan Hence proved….. Rape is a myth,
nothing ever happened….
Damini ( rape victim ) was lucky
that world went on rampage to
share her pain.
when Asiya And Neelofer were raped and
murdered nobody uttered a word.
More than 9000 women have been
here alone. Corrupt government
officials and police rapists roam
free yet women fear for their honor and you know where this is
happening. THIS IS MY KASHMIR!.

by – MEEM HYE MEHRAN (@BeingMehran)


%d bloggers like this: