Junaid*, a 22-year-old resident of Jammu & Kashmir, was hit with pellets allegedly shot by security forces outside a mosque in Srinagar on 9 August. One of the pellets damaged his eye and he was admitted to a nearby hospital.
Speaking to The Quint, he narrates the ordeal and the circumstances leading up to the incident.
“On Friday, protests were being held in my locality. My family didn’t stop me when I was leaving to offer prayers in a local mosque in the evening. When we stepped out (from the mosque), we could hear people screaming nearby. We asked them what was happening. They said, we don’t know from where these pellets are coming. While we were moving slowly (towards home), 3-4 CRPF personnel and 4 J&K police officials ‘tortured’ us.”Junaid, pellet victim
“I am saying tortured,” adds Junaid, “because they targeted us and it was no mistake. There were elderly people and children with us... several of them got injured. Some of the injured were taken to a nearby hospital.”
A pellet, which hit Junaid’s eye, is still lodged inside his head. While he is still able to see out of his eye, his vision is blurred
“I want to ask the Government of India, till when are we going to tolerate torture? A Kashmiri mother always lives in fear... whether her son will return home or not. Why is it happening to us everyday? This is our land, so we have every right to raise our voice to protect it. Whatever be the situation, we haven’t lost hope.”Junaid, pellet victim
The Quint also spoke to a few security forces officers to find out more about the incident. They admitted that pellets are used if they fail to control protesters with tear gas. But, they denied using pellets on the general public.
Senior authorities in SMHS Hospital confirmed to The Quint that between 5-14 August, 14 patients with pellet injuries were admitted. Most of them have been discharged. Doctors have also confirmed that none of them had lost their vision.
But, are security forces using pellets on protesters only after the effective revocation of Article 370? The answer is NO!
A 17-year-old resident of Shopian was hit with pellets on 2 August. He has lost eyesight in one eye. The victim’s brother recalls the incident:
“An encounter was going on in Shopian for over 40 hours on 2 August. Security forces were very angry as they had difficulty in locating the militants. We live 1-2 km away from the place where the encounter was going on. When the forces were going back, after the encounter, my brother was sitting in the lawn outside our house. Forces were firing pellets on whosoever was present in the vicinity. My other family members were also sitting in the lawn but they were on the other side, that’s why they didn’t get injured.”Brother of the 17-year-old victim