Washington, November 21 (KMS): Scientific American, a popular American science magazine, while disclosing horrific details of Indian atrocities being perpetrated by Indian forces in occupied Kashmir has said that human rights violations and pellet-gun injuries continue to happen amid the communications shutdown in the territory.

A fresh article titled Blindness in Kashmir by a doctor named Naureen M. Haroon published in the magazine says, “Medical supplies have become scarce, hospitals are difficult to reach because of barricades across the main roads, and the administration has reportedly stopped issuing death certificates. In consequence, we may not ever know how many Kashmiris are dying.”

“Given this harrowing reality, I am profoundly saddened that so many of my colleagues in the medical profession have chosen to ignore their Hippocratic oath and instead defend a regime that inflicts such grievous harm on civilians. When will this regime and its supporters stop turning a blind eye to the unnecessary human tragedy in Kashmir,” she laments

Recalling her past memories related to her visit to the Kashmir Valley, Dr Naureen says, “An American optometrist of Kashmiri origin, I was plunged into the conflict in 2016 when I arrived in Srinagar, the region’s capital, for a family vacation. Thousands of people were on the streets demanding freedom from Indian rule, and army and paramilitary forces were responding to stone-throwing youths by firing so-called pellet guns.”

“I visited hospitals to understand what was going on. I saw patients with more than 100 pellets in their abdomen or skull. A fourteen-year-old girl who was looking out of her bedroom window became unrecognizable within seconds due to hundreds of pellets covering her entire face and penetrating her skull. A 24-year-old’s left eyeball fell out of his eye socket.”

“India’s Central Reserve Police Force would eventually admit to using over 1.3 million pellets in just the first thirty-two days of those summer protests resulting in deaths and injuries. Over 500 of these wounds resulted in vision loss in one or both eyes.”

“This harrowing exposure prompted me to aid the US based non-profit, Revive Kashmir, in starting Project Noor, which aids those visually impaired by pellet guns. My team members and I began with basic training for day-to-day survival in 2017. We taught patients how to eat, use their phone, and walk with assistance. Hearing the patient’s stories convinced me, however, that we needed to do more.”

“Teenagers, many of them villagers, had been robbed of the careers to which they aspired and instead felt like a financial and emotional burden on their already struggling families. Those who were studying had had to drop out of school and none of those working could continue.”

“In the years since, the number of deaths, injuries and blindness of innocent civilians, mostly children and young adults, has steadily increased,” she said and quoted The Lancet editorial that 1253 people had been blinded by pellet guns between 2016 and 2018. “The damage has been compounded by a lack of resources for the visually impaired. The traumatic injuries and deaths have also caused lasting psychological harm and left many victims depressed and suicidal,” she pointed out.

“Various other international and national non-profit organizations have come forward to aid patients with pellet injuries with surgical costs, medications and financial support. But all of these efforts have been put to a halt by the state of siege imposed on the eight million Kashmiris. For more than three months, a complete lock-down of the region, an increase in armed forces in an already heavily militarized zone, and suspension of telephone and internet use has prevented any aid from reaching the people.”


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