Protestors around the world are facing extreme violence from riot cops, particularly assaultive weapons like rubber bullets, water cannons, stun grenade cannisters, & in some places like Palestine & Kashmir, live ammunition. In 2010, the Indian army began using pellet guns in Kashmir. They claimed they were moving to “non-lethal weapons” to quell anti-India protests. Pellet guns use hydraulic force to pump out hundreds of pellets at a time which become embedded & can cause permanent blindness & disfigurement as well as fatal injuries by destroying vital organs. Because of the scattershot nature of buckshot, many children & passersby are also blinded & injured.
The buckshot is made of lead & the deleterious health effects of that metal are not mitigated in pellet form. There are actually restrictions in the US on the use of lead pellets in hunting because of its negative impact on birds & the environment.
Pellet guns were also used in the 2011 Bahrain uprising when the regime hired two supercops, one from the UK & one from the US, to organize security. Pellet guns were part of their arsenal & there are dozens of photos of protesters riddled with buckshot–many which cannot be removed. The lethality & barbarism of the weapon are beyond dispute.
The photo is an X-ray of Amir Kabir Beigh, a 22-year-old Kashmiri, showing dozens of lead pellets embedded in his skull. Looks like they were directing the pellet gun directly at this eyes & head. And it looks like documentation for human rights & war crimes against Kashmiris by the Indian army.
Today Kashmir is considered the most densely militarized zone in the world administered & occupied by over 700,000 Indian soldiers. Since the 1990s, the death toll from political conflict has risen to 70,000, with an estimated 100,000 tortured & 10,000 disappeared.
Things are not going to improve for Kashmiri justice under Modi, India’s new reactionary prime minister. His close political association with apartheid Israel bodes very badly. Colonial wars eat at the very soul of a society, engendering extreme violence at home & abroad unless they are actively opposed & international solidarity extended to the people of Kashmir.
Our fullest solidarity with the people of Kashmir.
(Photo by Abid Bhat)