Anti-pellet gun campaign on Facebook goes viral

Anti-pellet gun campaign on Facebook goes viral

Pakistan-based group juxtaposes pellets on faces of politicians, celebrities to ‘shock people out of ignorance’

A campaign by a Pakistan-based ‘welfare society’ to “shock people out of ignorance” about lethal effects of pellet guns in Kashmir has gone viral on the social networking site Facebook.

On its Facebook page, ‘Never Forget Pakistan” (NFP) has “tried to raise awareness” about hundreds of persons including minors who have received pellet injuries in eyes and other parts of body by photo-shopping the injuries on the faces of famous celebrities from India and across the world.

The society has photo-shopped faces of politicians, film celebrities and sports personalities from India with pellet injuries on their faces and in eyes. Even the Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg is in the list.

“You have been such an inspiration for us…with your resilience. We tried to post your interview and pictures of your injuries on Facebook to get the word out but Facebook keeps on taking them down citing their ‘community standards’,” reads a post against the photo-shopped picture of Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook. This picture shows Zuckerberg with pellet injuries on his face and eyes.    

Amid information clampdown in Kashmir, Facebook is facing allegations of censorship in the valley as users have reported removal of their content and alleged the social network site has disabled their accounts for posting “pro-Kashmir” updates and photos.

“A powerful campaign. Kudos to Jibran and team. Kashmir appreciates this,” a Facebook user Muhammad Faysal posted on the NFP’s page.

Muhammad Jibran Nasir and his colleagues at NFP have launched the campaign to “raise awareness against the use of pellet shot guns on civilians. “

“This campaign is not about jingoism. It is about trying to create empathy. We live in a sad world where we have to present genuine tragedies in a creative way just to make people pause and think for a moment,” the society explain on its Facebook page.

The photo-shopped face of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with eyes bandaged and pellet injuries on face and pellet-injured photo-shopped face of Congress President Sonia Gandhi are part of the 11-photo collage used by the NFP to attract attention towards the pellet victims of Kashmir. It also has the photo-shopped pictures of Bollywood celebrity Amitab Bachhan, with his left eye bandaged and pellet injuries on face, and pellet-injured face of cricketer Virat Kohli.

The NFP’s Facebook page has been shared by scores of users, especially from Kashmir, who have given vent to their anger against continued use of pellet guns in Kashmir.

Over 180 persons including minors have received injuries in their eye (s) due to the pellet fired by the forces, after protests broke out in Kashmir in the wake of July 8 killing of Hizbul Mujahadeen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani. While at least 20 persons have their eyes “severely damaged” by the pellets, 10 persons have completely lost their one eye to pellet injuries.

Doctors at the SHMS hospital here, where the persons with pellet injuries in their eyes are being treated, said at least 140 victims would require retinal surgeries.

The State Government and New Delhi has come under severe criticism for continuing the use of pellet guns in Kashmir which forced the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to announce in the parliament last week that Government would look for other non-lethal options for “crowd control” in Kashmir.

“We do not suffer from any misplaced sentiment of nationalism. We speak against abuses be it by any state or government including our own,” the NFP has said on its Facebook page.