No Restraint: Pellet Guns Used Inside Homes
SRINAGAR: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s directive of using pellet guns “in the rarest of rare situations” seems to have no takers among paramilitary CRPF and Police who are indiscriminately firing pellets at people even when they are in their bedrooms or kitchens.
On Sunday, the doctors at SMHS hospital received 31 patients from Karimabad area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district even as hospital authorities were discharging patients before the religious festival of Eid-ul-Adha, not for letting them enjoy the festivity but to the fear of having more patient arrivals on Eid.
In the ophthalmological ward, the eyes covered with the wads of bandage get easily distinguished among the framed ones.
On bed 8, 9 and 10, three family members of Karimabad, Pulwama narrate the ordeal how ‘government forces barged into their homes firing pellets indiscriminately’.
Asif Riyaz, 17, was having tea at 6:30 am when forces kicked the gate of his house and ransacked everything that came their way.
“My brother, Adil was sleeping but I was up having tea in the kitchen and suddenly there was a big bang at the door,” Asif says. “When my father went to see what had happen, the government forces beat him up and fired pellets into my eye.”
When Adil woke up and started enquiring what was happening, he too was silenced by firing pellets at his eyes, chest and face.
“When I heard screams, I woke up in a jiffy and saw police beating my mother and when I protested, they fired pellets at me from a very close range,” Adil says.
Asif’s and Adil’s uncle Sheeraz who tried to have a word with the forces smashing window panes, breaking refrigerator and television, was also dealt with pellets, blinding and maiming him in the process.
Riyaz Ahmad, the father of Asif and Adil, who was in the house when his brother Sheeraz and two sons were left blinded by the forces says, “After Fajr (morning) prayers, we returned home and youth removed barricades to allow milkmen and vegetable vendors to supply essentials.”
Taking advantage of it, the forces who usually carry night raids to detain youth, carried morning raids in Karimabad where people had organised a massive rally ‘Karimabad Chalo’ in August and paid homage to militants killed during the 27 years of armed rebellion in Kashmir.
The rally had also seen presence of Lashkar-e-Toiba commander, Abu Dujana.
Adil’s and Asif’s mother, Raja Begum, who too was beaten up by the forces, says, “It was like an earthquake and everything was destroyed.”
She says the forces even started beating her and other women in the neighbourhood besides harassing and abusing them.
According to the data compiled by Directorate of Health Services, government forces till September 4 had injured about 994 persons, mostly hit by pellets followed by bullets, stones and batons.
Medical Superintendent, District Hospital Pulwama, Dr. Abdul Rashid Parra told Rising Kashmir that they had received 118 patients, mostly hit by pellets in the eye while the rest had been beaten by the forces.
Gulzar Ahmad, whose brother had been injured by the forces, explains how the forces used the local Masjid to ploy against people.
“When they started beating and firing, a local went into the Masjid and asked people from nearby villages to come out on roads to save them from the forces who had created havoc in the village,” he says.
However, the forces arrested him and instead, a Kashmiri police officer foxed people making announcements asking them to assemble at a particular spot and when people assembled there, police started firing at them.
(Courtesy Rising Kashmir)
(Cover Photo: Eid in Kashmir. Basit Zargar)