Amid talk of replacing pellet gun, number of pellet victims on rise
For the past several days, the percentage of pellet victims admitted to general specialty SMHS hospital here is seeing a steep rise, with most of them hit in their eyes, much to the concern of doctors.
A senior doctor said the percentage of victims with pellet injuries was around 40 during the initial few weeks when the hospital began to receive patients with firearm injuries following the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani, on July 8.
"It continued for several weeks and then there was a period when around 50 percent of injured were those hit by pellets. But for the past many days, the percentage of pellet victims admitted to the hospital has gone up to 65 (of total admission of injured persons)," he said.
On Friday (August 26), of 32 injured the hospital received from different parts of Kashmir, 23 (71%) persons were those hit by pellets.
Next day, the hospital admitted 14 injured persons, 11 of them with pellet injuries in eyes and other parts of body.
Since Saturday evening, the hospital admitted 11 persons with pellet injuries.
As per the official records, the pattern of pellet victims reporting at the hospital has been similar during the first part of the week as well as its last.
On August 23, the percentage of pellet victims admitted to the hospital was 67 while it was 71 on August 25.
From August 15 to August 22, the percentage of pellet victims treated at the hospital ranged from 59 to 64.
Since July 9, the hospital has admitted a total of 1514 injured persons for treatment out of whom 1440 were pellet victims. While 29 persons, as per the official records, were hit by pellet in both eyes, 513 had pellet injuries in one of their eyes.
"Since Friday afternoon around 30 people with pellet injuries to their eyes have been admitted in the hospital. And for the past (entire) week, the injured received have largely been the pellet victims," said the doctor.
The State Government has come under sharp criticism for "excessive use of force" by the men in uniform on protestors in Kashmir which has witnessed 70 killings in past 51 days of anti-India uprising.
Of these, at least six have been killed after they were hit by pellets in vital organs. Besides, more than 600 persons have suffered injuries in their one of both eyes due to pellets which have been described as "non-lethal" by the Government.
On August 19, the Central Reserve Police Force told Jammu and Kashmir High Court that it used 1.3 million pellets in 32 days in Kashmir to control street protests. The use of pellet guns has continued in Kashmir since then.
Under attack, the Government of India is reportedly considering PAVA (Pelargonic Acid Vanillylamide) shells as replacement to the pellet guns in Kashmir.
The pellet injuries have been swelling despite repeated assurances from the Government, asking forces to exercise maximum restraint while dealing with the protesters.