The Indian authorities call the shotgun shells filled with hundreds of small metal pellets a "non-lethal" weapon for crowd control. However, that doesn't change the fact that this apparent "non-lethal" weapon have inflicted a permanent toll on hundreds of Kashmiris.
Since mid-July, when the current wave of protests against the Indian Army started after Burhan Wani, a militant commander was killed, there have been several cases of patients reporting to hospitals with eyes ruptured by lead pellets.The New York Times, in this article in August, had put the number at 570 then.
Whether the stone-throwing crowd has any leader or not, there's one slogan on everyone's lips: "What do we want? Freedom!"
However, when there's a protest, not all of them are protesting. There are journalists, and there are photographers too.
In one of the situation, a photojournalist Xuhaib Maqbool, 30, was capturing the images of the protests.
He ended up losing vision in his left eye as he shot images of protesters chanting anti-India slogans.
In this chilling audio by Associated Press, Maqbool can be heard, shrieking in pain after he was shot with pellets.
"It's a different kind of protest today, very dangerous one and from all sides," a man is first heard telling Maqbool. The photojournalist spots an army personnel walking towards him. "Oh sh**, they are here," he says. Immediately after, shots are fired.
Seconds later, Maqbool cries with pain, "My eyeball has burst..."
Maqbool told Associated Press that he clearly raised his camera to show the soldier who shot at him that he was not a protester. "I want to ask him why," he said, raising the question that has probably been on many Kashmiris' minds.
Listen to the audio here:
(With inputs from Associated Press)
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