AI asks Trudeau to stop Modi from using pellet-guns

By Staff Reporter
Saturday - February 17, 2018
ISLAMABAD: Amnesty international (AI), in an open letter on Friday, urged Canadian prime minister (PM) Justin Trudeau to call on Indian PM Narendra Modi to immediately ban the use of pellet-firing shotguns, as a means of policing protests and work with the state government of Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK) to set up independent investigations into cases of deaths or serious injuries caused by pellet firing shotguns.

According to an official statement, AI open letter added, security forces in IOK have been using pellet firing shotguns to police protests in the occupied valley since at least the year 2010. These weapons have killed, blinded and injured thousands of people.

In January this year, the IOK state government admitted in the state legislative assembly that 6,221 persons received pellet gun injuries, including 782 eye injuries, between July 2016 and February 2017.

The actual figures are likely to be even higher.

People injured by pellet-firing shotguns have faced serious physical and mental health issues, including symptoms of psychological trauma.

School and university students who were hit in the eyes said that they continue to have learning difficulties. Several victims who were the primary breadwinners for their families fear they will not be able to work any longer.

Many have not regained their eyesight despite repeated surgeries.

These shotguns fire a large number of small pellets spreading over a wide range. There is no way to control the trajectory or direction of the pellets, whose effects are therefore indiscriminate.

By their very nature, the weapons have a high risk of causing serious and permanent injuries to the persons targeted as well as to others. These risks are virtually impossible to control.

The use of pellet shotguns in IOK violates international standards on the use of force, AI open letter concluded.

It may be mentioned that Canada’s Pakistani ambassador Tariq Azim Khan, in his meeting with AI secretary general Alex Neve on February 2nd, 2018, conveyed that since Canada considers itself the flag bearer of human rights, PM Trudeau should be urged by the AI to take up the issue of gross human rights’ violations and pellet guns use in IOK during his upcoming visit to India.