On August 2, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court asked the Centre and the state government to file by August 17 their responses on a PIL by the High Court Bar Association calling for a ban on pellets. The court criticised the Central government for not treating Kashmiris "as your own people".
The court observed that several hundreds of people had suffered injuries in their eyes and face due to being hit by pellets, whereas standard operating procedures allow the use of pellets below the knee only, for controlling protests.
The PIL by the High Court Bar Association urged the court that "cases be registered" against all the security officers who ordered the use of pellets against civilians. It also sought a directive to the government to compensate all such persons who have suffered injuries or died because of pellets.
Scores of deaths and hundreds of eye injuries have been reported in Kashmir, due to firing of pellets by the security forces on innocent people, in the name of “controlling” the mass protests that continue to rock the valley since early July. Although the Home Minister had publicly asked the security forces to “avoid using pellet guns and find alternatives”, they continue to be widely used and many more have been killed, blinded and injured due to pellets fired by the security forces, since the Home Minister’s statement.
Doctors in Kashmir have condemned the firing of pellets by the security forces. The Doctors' Association of Kashmir has said the pellets are as dangerous as bullets and have not only blinded people but also killed many of them.On July 10, 2016 pellets are reported to have pierced the chest wall and made holes in the heart of a 24-year-old youth, causing his death. In another case, pellets had penetrated the skull bones and shattered a young man's brain. In Srinagar's old city locality of Chattabal, a youth was found dead, after security forces reportedly emptied a full cartridge of pellets into his body, perforating his abdomen and killing him on the spot. A preliminary autopsy report is reported to have revealed that scores of pellets were found in the young man's body.
It has been over a month since the current spate of protests have erupted in the Kashmir Valley. For over a month, Srinagar and vast areas of Kashmir have been under curfew. In the savage repression unleashed by the armed forces against the people, more than 55 people, mostly youth, have died, and thousands have been grievously injured. A full month later, the NDA government deemed it fit to discuss the Kashmir situation in parliament. The government has announced an “all party meeting” to discuss the situation in Kashmir, to be followed most likely by a delegation which will visit the valley.
The discussion in parliament once again showed that the Central government refuses to acknowledge that the Kashmir problem is a political problem demanding a political solution. The government continues to look at it as a “law and order” problem, to be dealt with by brute force. The government continues to blame Pakistan for the problem of Kashmir. It refuses to accept that the problem of Kashmir stems from the denial by the Indian state of the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people.
Over the years, the people of Kashmir have seen many governments of different political parties come and go at the centre and in the state – Congress, PDP, National Conference, now BJP and various combinations of these. Each of them has promised to “deliver justice”, “provide a healing touch”, “investigate the atrocities”, etc. But each of them has presided over the same atrocities. The continuing popular protests throughout the Kashmir valley show that the people of Kashmirrefuse to be fooled or silencedby the lies, promises, threats or even bullets of the state.
The Indian state has never looked upon Kashmir as the land of the Kashmiri people who have inhabited it for generations and have inalienable rights over it. Instead, it has looked at Kashmir as a pawn in its geopolitical games in the region, particularly in its contention with Pakistan. The people of Kashmir have been the perpetual victims of this contention and the big power ambitions of the ruling Indian bourgeoisie. The Indian state has treated the problem in Kashmir, not as a violation of the just aspiration of the Kashmiri people but as a “law and order” problem, to be crushed with bullets and false promises.
The Communist Ghadar Party denounces the brutality of the Indian state and its security forces in Kashmir. We demand immediate end to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and other repressive laws, the complete withdrawal of the Army and paramilitary forces from civilian areas, exemplary punishment of anyone in authority who inflicts atrocities on the people, complete freedom of movement, communication and expression for the Kashmiri people. The situation in Kashmir forcefully brings out the urgent necessity to carry forward the struggle for a new, voluntary Indian union, in which the rights of all the nations and peoples inhabiting this land are respected, including their right to determine their ownfuture.