Kashmir dispute adds more to list of PWDs: Chairman KIIR

ISLAMABAD, Dec 03 (APP): Chairman Kashmir Institute of International Relations (KIIR) Altaf Hussain Wani while stressing the need for early resolution of Kashmir dispute, has said that the unresolved dispute had not only increased the vulnerability of existing disabled persons and their families but it had added more to the list of people with disabilities (PWDs).

In a press statement issued on Saturday on the occasion of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the KIIR chairman while referring to continued bloodshed and violence in the disputed territory, said that continued violence and unrest in the region had played a key role in growing number of people with disabilities, especially after the use of pellet guns by Indian forces.

Terming the use of 3rd degree torture as the main state tool to cause disability, Wani further said that inhuman torture techniques employed by Indian forces against detainees in custody and use of excessive force against peaceful protesters have left thousands of Kashmiris disabled for life.

He said that the use of so-called non-lethal weapons like pellet guns by the Indian forces have led to permanent disability of hundreds of Kashmiri boys and girls who lost their eyesight after being injured by pellet-firing shotguns. Apart from the pellet guns, he said Indian forces had been employing gruesome methods of torture such as crushing the leg muscles with a wooden roller, giving electric shocks and burning detainees’ sensitive parts with heated objects during the interrogation.

“Since 1990, scores of naturally disabled persons have been killed by the trigger-happy Indian forces”, he said, adding that between 2016-18, the vision of 1,253 people was impaired after being hit by pellets.

Referring to a report, Wani said, between 2015 and 2017, 31,085 people were certified as disabled in different districts of Kashmir marking 74 percent jump from 17,898 people in three preceding years.

About the impact of landmines on the lives of innocent Kashmiris, he said that cases of disabilities in Kashmir have increased manifold since India started to use deadly pellet guns in Kashmir. On the other hand, he said, use of landmines and booby traps by the Indian army had wreaked havoc on the lives of people living in the areas adjacent to the LoC.

The KIIR chairman urged the international community to take effective notice of the matter and hold the Indian government accountable for the crimes its forces have been inflicting upon Kashmiris.