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Children are being blinded to silence Kashmiris

Kashmir’s main hospital is overwhelmed with victims of pellet guns bringing memories of mass blinding two years ago.

Mohsin Nabi is lying on a hospital bed in Srinagar, the main city in Indian-administered Kashmir. His face and left eye have small visible holes of iron pellets fired by the Indian security forces.

“Protests were happening at a distance but the firing was unprovoked, a total nine boys were hit with me. We were just walking and they targeted us,” said Nabi, whose friend is also being treated for pellet injuries in the same ward.

“Everything went dark then I don’t know who brought me here,” he says adding that the doctors have performed a primary surgery of removing the pellets from his eyeballs.

Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS), located in the main city Srinagar, is overwhelmed with patients, most of them with bloody eyes.

Southern Kashmir has been on the boil since charismatic rebel commander, Burhan Wani, was killed in 2016. More than 200 rebels have been killed since then in security operations run by the Indian armed forces.

They deliberately blind our children to silence us

Thousands of people came out on the streets to protest one of the bloodiest days in recent months. Nearly 50 people were wounded, most of them in their eyes, after security forces fired on a crowd of tens of thousands gathered to attend the funeral of those killed.

The mass blinding of civilians two years ago had drawn criticism from the international human rights groups.

Amnesty International has repeatedly urged security forces to stop the use of pellets guns immediately “in line with international human rights standards on the use of force”.

“People tried to break the cordon at the encounters sites in which we had to retaliate and some were hit with pellets in the clashes,” he said.

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