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Hiba, the new face of pellet horror

The macabre game of blinding innocent civilians in Indian occupied Kashmir goes on unabated with no end in sight. Since 2010, thousands of Kashmiris mostly the young boys and girls have fell victim to this brutality unleashed upon them by the occupation forces. According to a report produced by Kashmir Media Service more than 8424 civilians were injured by pellets during the last couple of years. The report says that out of these pellet victims 128 youth have lost their total eye-sight , 207 lost one eye-sight and 1020 youth were at the verge of losing eye-sight. Whereas the number of youth whose vision had damaged partially has swelled to 1869. “The use of the pellet gun, normally reserved for hunting animals, has resulted in more than 69 deaths”, says a report released Kashmir Blind Spot Campaign (KBSC). The indiscriminate and wholesale use of pellet guns, boastfully projected as a non-lethal mob controlling weapon by India, is leaving behind a harrowing legacy of blind boys and girls who may no longer be able to live a normal life. To this long list of pellet hit victims, Hiba Jan, a 19 month baby girl is the new addition who was hit with a pellet in her eye, when she was in the lap of her mother. Can any one dare to ask India what was the crime of this little angel who has become a new face of pellet horror in Kashmir. The swollen face of the bay-girl (Hiba Jan) with a pellet in her eye poses a serious question to those who claim to be the champions of humanism and human rights. The pellet pierced faces of Kashmiri youth and children with ‘dead eyes’ is a challenge to human conscience. It is high time that the world community should take serious notice of the grave human rights violations in Kashmir and stop India from using this lethal weapon against Kashmiris. Although there has been an outcry against the use of pellet guns in Kashmir at all international forums. The rights activists around the globe have pleaded for banning this weapon but so far nothing has been done in this regard. In 2017 the Amnesty International issued a detailed report ‘Losing Sight in Kashmir”. “Pellet-firing shotguns, which have been responsible for blinding, killing and traumatizing hundreds of people in Kashmir, must be immediately banned”, the AI report said. Unfortunately, these pleas have apparently fallen on deaf ears. While on the other hand World community’s silence on the issue has emboldened India to unleash a more widespread cruelty on Kashmiris. The situation in the restive region will continue to deteriorate unless the international community plays its due role in the settlement of lingering dispute. For any positive change to take place in Kashmir, all that the world needs to do is to persuade India to stop killing and blinding Kashmiris and respect the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir as protected under international law.

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