Geneva, July 04 (KMS): Kashmiri representative, Professor Nazir Ahmad Shawl, has informed the UN Rights Council that India has been using the metal pellet-firing shotguns against people in the Kashmir Valley since, at least, 2010.

Speaking under the Agenda Item 4, Professor Nazir Ahmad Shawl, who also represents International Human Rights Association of American Minorities (IHRAAM) at the 38th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva said, “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.”

Following is the complete text of his speech:

Mr. Chairman!

The use of firearms is always potentially lethal. The Governments of India and Jammu and Kashmir, to everyone’s surprise, have used metal pellet-firing shotguns against Kashmiri people in the Kashmir Valley since at least 2010. The 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.

Pellet-firing shotguns are blinding, killing and traumatizing hundreds of people in Kashmir. 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 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.

The Central Government in New Delhi and Government of Jammu and Kashmir must immediately stop the use of pellet-firing shotguns and ensure that the use of all other weapons is in line with international human rights standards on use of force. Authorities should also provide full reparation in line with international standards to those injured by pellet-firing shotguns and to the families of those killed.

The UN Human Rights Council and the High Commissioner for Human Rights should ensure that these pellets are not fired on Kashmiri civilians.

I thank you Mr Chairman.


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