As many as 36 persons have received pellet injuries in the Kashmir Valley since August 5, a senior government official told The Hindu . The official said the numbers were based on records available with hospital authorities in Srinagar. The data from other districts in Valley was not available.
On Wednesday, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satyapal Malik admitted that pellet guns were used by security personnel during protests in the Kashmir Valley but they took utmost precaution to prevent injuries.
“Its our achievement that there has been no civilian casualty so far. There were allegations that we are concealing the number of deaths but on the contrary we are sharing information even on pellet injuries. Barring one case, all pellet injuries were below the waist, only one person was hit in the neck, he is also fine and out of danger now,” Mr. Malik said in Srinagar.
Severe restrictions including communication blockade has been imposed in Kashmir Valley since August 5 when Home Minister Amit Shah moved two Bills in the Rajya Sabha to read down Article 370 that had granted special status to J&K and downgrade and bifurcate the State into two Union Territories.
Of the 36 persons who received pellet injuries, eight were reported in the first week of the clampdown, the official said. More than 200 incidents of stone throwing have been reported during this period.
“No one has been blinded. Except four, all pellet injuries are below the waist,” the official added.
In 2016, after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with the security forces, over 70 civilians were killed in a spate of violence and protests in the Kashmir Valley. As per 2016 records, from July 8 to September 6, as many as 7,550 civilians were injured, of which 127 were admitted in hospitals. The security personnel had come under attack for the use of pellet guns, that as per official records, had blinded or partially blinded 30 people the same year.