At least 18 civilians have been killed and over 6000 injured by pellets in Kashmir in last two years.
“As per reports, 18 civilians were killed due to pellets in Valley during last two years,” Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti informed Legislative Assembly in a written reply to a cut-motion on home department of Congress MLA Viqar Rasool.
She said 6221 people were injured in pellet firing by security personnel in Valley between July 2016 to February 2017.
“Of the 6221 injured by pellets, 5197 were treated in district hospitals in the Valley,” the CM said.
Hundreds of people were hit by pellets in the eyes and many have lost vision in both eyes.
Among the victim who lost vision in both eyes is 15-year-old girl Insha Mushtaq, who recently passed 10th class examination.
Insha was hit by pellets in both eyes inside the kitchen of her house in south Kashmir’s Shopian district in July 2015 in pellet firing by security forces.
Kashmir witnessed over five-month long unrest after killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8, 2016.
The security personnel fired pellets to disperse the protestors during the clashes triggered during the unrest period.
The security personnel also used pellets to quell stone pelting youth and protests last year in the Valley.
There have been calls from mainstream parties, separatist groups and civil society members to ban use of pellets in Valley.
However, Mehbooba, who also holds home portfolio, in her written response defended use of pellet guns.
“The pellet guns are used sparingly when all other means and methods of controlling the agitating mobs like use of teargas, oleoresin grenades and stun grenades fail”.
She said the pellets are fired as and when required below the waist line to cause minimum damage to the members of agitating mob and the violent protesters.
“The pellets guns are not used against any peaceful protester,” she added.