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Fearing punishment pellet victims evade hospital treatment in Kashmir

Shahana Butt 
Press TV, Kashmir

Since the beginning of fresh tensions in Kashmir after India revoked Kashmir’s special status, the situation in the region is yet far from normal amid a strict security clampdown and communications blackout. 

However, official reports claim things in the region are under control and there are fewer clashes reported between Indian forces and protesters.

Hospital records show 200 people were injured in the past month of unrest and the majority of them hit by pellets. Authorities say a decrease in the number of hospital admissions show a de-escalation of tensions. However, Kashmiris are of a different opinion.

The 22-year-old Bilal Ahmad was hit by pellets last Friday after pro-freedom demonstrators were targeted by Indian forces on the outskirts of Srinagar. He did not go to hospital for treatment.

Bilal isn’t the only one evading hospital for treatment. The 17-year-old Asrar Ahmad was one of the injured who succumbed to his injuries on September 4th. Officials denied that he died of pellet injuries, but hospital records show otherwise.

In 2010, Indian forces started using pellet guns to contain a mass uprising against Indian rule. For the past nine years, this weapon has claimed many lives and injured many more protesters in Kashmir.

However, New Delhi has turned a blind eye on criticism and repeated calls by rights groups to stop using pellet guns against protesters.

Rights groups say Kashmiris resort to peaceful street protests to make their voices heard.

General strikes and shutdowns are the protest actions by Kashmiris against India's policies in the disputed region. They hope through such actions they can draw attention to their plight and heap international pressure on New Delhi to change its course.

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