ISLAMABAD:"Amnesty International urges Prime Minister Trudeau to call on Indian Prime Minister Modi to immediately ban the use of pellet-firing shotguns as a means of policing protests, and work with the state government of Jammu and Kashmir to set up independent investigations into cases of deaths or serious injuries caused by pellet firing shotguns.
According to a message received here from Ottawa, in an Open letter of Amnesty International to Prime Minister Trudeau, it pointed out that security forces in Jammu and Kashmir have been using pellet firing shotguns to police protests in the Kashmir valley since at least 2010. These weapons have killed, blinded and injured thousands of people.
In January this year, the Jammu and Kashmir state government admitted in the state legislative assembly that 6,221 persons received pellet gun injuries, including 782 eye injuries, between July 2016 and February 2017. The actual figures are likely to be even higher.
People injured by pellet-firing shotguns have faced serious physical and mental health issues, including symptoms of psychological trauma. School and university students who were hit in the eyes said that they continue to have learning difficulties. Several victims who were the primary breadwinners for their families fear they will not be able to work any longer. Many have not regained their eyesight despite repeated surgeries.
These shotguns fire a large number of small pellets spreading over a wide range. There is no way to control the trajectory or direction of the pellets, whose effects are therefore indiscriminate. By their very nature, the weapons have a high risk of causing serious and permanent injuries to the persons targeted as well as to others. These risks are virtually impossible to control. The use of pellet shotguns in Kashmir violates international standards on the use of force."
It may be mentioned that High Commissioner Tariq Azim Khan, in his meeting with Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International(AI), on Feb 02, 2018 said that since Canada considers itself flag bearer of human rights, Prime Minister should be urged by the AI to take up the issue of gross human rights violations and pellet guns use in Indian occupied Kashmir during his upcoming visit to India.APP/AFP