#Day 26: Kashmir Rights Group Initiates ‘Messages From A Blind Spot’ Campaign



This boy was hit in the face by a pellet gunshot.
This boy was hit in the face by a pellet gunshot.

A human rights group defender based in Srinagar has initiated a campaign “Messages From A Blind Spot” in view of the “grave situation” in Kashmir.

Following the killing of popular militant commander on 8 July 2016, and consequent mourning by the people, “the Indian State has resorted to unbridled violence” and the people of Jammu and Kashmir are under siege with an estimated 55+ persons killed thus far, and 4500+ persons injured, a statement issued by Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Societies (JKCCS) on Wednesday evening.

A particularly horrific feature of this violence has been the use of pellet shotguns, the statement said while describing the pain it inflicted on victims.

Pellet shotguns, wrongly described as “non-lethal”, have been used against the people of Jammu and Kashmir since 2010 and are “lethal and their use inherently indiscriminate, incapable of distinction or proportionality of force”, the statement said.

“Thus far hundreds have met with grievous injuries including an estimated 300+ with eye-injuries of which an estimated 100+ civilians are partially or totally blinded by pellet shotgun injuries,” the JKCCS statement informed. Few civilians are reported to have died from the use of these lethal weapons.

“This is Jammu and Kashmir today and the violence of the Indian armed forces against the people grows daily as the Indian State seeks to control the population, curb collective protests, restrict all civilian rights and extinguish a peoples’ cry for freedom and demand for self-determination,” the rights defender group said.

“The present violence is a continuation of decades of State violence, aggression and denial of peoples’ rights. Thus far, Jammu and Kashmir, a military occupation under the control of an approximate 7, 00,000 Indian armed forces personnel, has been subject to an estimated 70,000+ killings, 8000+ enforced disappearances and numerous cases of torture and sexual violence.

Legal impunity for the perpetrators of human rights violations has sent a message to the people: that any demands for political and civil rights will be met with force at all costs,” the statement further said.

The statement claimed that the Indian State has “violated” its own laws in addition to international law, particularly the Geneva Conventions. “The violence coupled with no immediate sight of a solution has led to growing concern in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly on the limited role of the international community.”

Today, the statement said, JKCCS, “on behalf of the resilient and courageous people” of Jammu and Kashmir launches – Messages from a Blind Spot – a campaign appealing the international community to bear witness “to the suffering caused by the violence of the State in a region where people seek to exercise their basic right to freedom”.

“Stand by the people of Jammu and Kashmir and share the campaign material widely as posters and pamphlets, as public messages in newspapers, and as direct appeals to political representatives of your countries and international organizations [including to [email protected]],” the statement said.

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