Blood oozed out of my eye and face as pellets hit: High School student who was at Kashmir’s Muharram processions

A mourner was detained by Indian forces in Lal Chowk, Srinagar, during Muharram processions. Photo by Zia Shakeel.

On Saturday August 29th, Indian forces targeted hundreds of Shia Muslim mourners with pellet shotguns and tear-gas shells, hitting their eyes, face, arms and other parts of their bodies for taking out a religious procession on Ashura, a holy day for Shia Muslims around the world. The pictures and videos of people with blood oozing from their eyes and faces shared on social media depicted the brutality of the action by forces in the Bemina and Zadibal locality of Srinagar on Saturday. According to AP, “Officials said at least 200 people were detained in Srinagar this week for participating in Muharram processions, and at least seven were arrested under an anti-terror law for raising anti-India slogans.”

Stand With Kashmir, a collective which works for Kashmir cause talked to a high-school student who was part of the religious processions. The high-school student was hit with pellets in his left eye, arms, and face and fears he will lose his eyesight. He has already undergone his first surgery at a government hospital in Srinagar and is awaiting further treatment.

“On Saturday, hundreds of people gathered and we were peacefully taking out the mourning procession to observe the martyrdom of Hussain. The police were already present there, and initially, they told us we can do it. It was all peaceful and purely religious gathering. We were walking and the police were ahead of us in their vehicles. When we covered some distance, they started teargas shelling and targeting all of us with pellets. They turned towards us and we were shocked. I remember I saw a dozen people falling down, I too fell down as pellets hit my left eye and face. Blood oozed out of my eye and face. In the incident, more than 70 people were wounded and many were hit with scores of pellets on their face, eyes, chest, back, and arms. It was mayhem,” the student who has requested anonymity for his safety shared his ordeal.

The injured student said that he was taken to a hospital in an ambulance as there was chaos all around.

“It was a completely unprovoked action. Even when people fell on the ground after being hit with the iron pellets the policemen started beating all of us. Everything was deliberate.”

The student said that he has already undergone surgery which took two hours and it’s very painful.

“I have six-seven pellets inside my eye and doctors are saying that they cannot say anything yet as the eye is cloudy inside and they cannot give any guarantee about how my eyesight would be or how the future treatment can be done,” he further said.

The student is waiting for some kind of hope as he fears losing his sight. 

He said his family is in shock and he is now concerned about his future knowing how difficult the life of a pellet victim becomes in Kashmir.