Out of Sight (2019) — A film by Azad Essa and Horia El Hadad
June 6, 2020
In what Kashmiri writer Mirza Waheed has interrogated as "the world's first mass blinding," here is the story of 18-year-old Farzan Sheikh, who was blinded by pellets fired by Indian government forces a year after the horrific four month curfew of 2016. During that year, "17,000 adults and children" had "been injured" and "nearly five thousand" had "been arrested", while "an entire population spent the summer under the longest curfew in the history of curfews in Kashmir." However, with so many Kashmiris blinded through the use of pellet fire, the state's policy did not change. In 2017, Farzan became yet another target of such violence while attending a funeral procession. Azad Essa and Horia El Hadad present his story in this short documentary. Relevant links included.

film Description

Farzan is one of thousands of Kashmiri youth struggling to rebuild their lives after being injured by pellet guns.

In a flash, it was all taken away.

Two years ago, 18-year-old Farzan Sheikh was struck in the face – on two separate occasions – by lead pellets fired by Indian government forces in Srinagar, Indian-administered Kashmir.

He lost all vision in his right eye, and 75 percent of the vision in his left eye.

Since then, he has been unable to partake in the activities nearest to his heart, watching from the sidelines as other young people play the games he loves.

Since 2016, thousands of young Kashmiris have been injured by pellets. In addition to physical injuries, many find themselves struggling with psychological issues.

Source: Al Jazeera English

film Credits

A film by: Azad Essa and Horia El Hadad

Producer: Rifat Fareed

Camera: Shabir Bhat, Khalid Khan and Azad Essa

Editors: Horia El Hadad and Andrew Phillips

Music by: Hasham Cheema

Translators: Rifat Fareed

EP: Andrew Phillips

Source: Al Jazeera English

Relevant links

India’s crackdown in Kashmir: is this the world’s first mass blinding?

For the past month, while the attention of the world has been fixed on every dramatic twist in the US presidential election, the renewal of armed conflict between India and Pakistan has barely touched the headlines.

Pellet Gun Victims in Kashmir on the Devastating Consequences of the ‘Non-Lethal’ Weapon

At first glance, their scars look like pockmarks. Some have their eyes closed; others have a far-away look, eyes glazed over. They could be gazing out at a distant view. But these Kashmiri men, women and children aren’t looking at anything.

Losing Sight in Kashmir: The Impact of Pellet-Firing Shotguns – Amnesty International USA

Pellet-firing shotguns, which have been responsible for blinding, killing and traumatizing hundreds of people in Kashmir, must be immediately banned, Amnesty International India reiterated today in a new briefing, “Losing Sight in Kashmir: The Impact of Pellet-Firing Shotguns”.

Under the curtain: Kashmir residents contend with pellet guns and restrictions

When the Indian government stripped the state of Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomy and reclassified it as a union territory earlier this month, it left many citizens there in a state of confusion and concern.

Kashmir: Government Using Pellet Guns To Suppress Protests

SRINAGAR, Jammu & Kashmir – A steady trickle of civilian victims of pellet-gun injuries at the city hospital has lent credence to reports of unrest in the Valley, despite the Modi government’s insistence that Kashmir’s population has welcomed the decision to nullify Article 370, a constitutional provision that granted Jammu & Kashmir special status, and bifurcate the state.

Kashmir: Civilians severely wounded in pellet gun attacks

Srinagar, Indian-administered Kashmir – On Tuesday evening, 16-year-old Asrar Khan was on his way to a playing field just outside his house in Ellahi Bagh area of Srinagar, Indian-administred Kashmir. Moments later, the teenager was being rushed to hospital on a motorcycle, bleeding profusely from his head.

Over 150 treated for tear gas, pellet gun injuries in Kashmir

More than 150 people have suffered injuries from tear gas and pellets in the disputed Kashmir region since Indian security forces launched a major crackdown this month, data from the region’s two main hospitals shows.

In Kashmir, hundreds of pellet gun victims face a hazy future

Memories haunt Zuhaib Maqbool, 32, a photojournalist, even two years and eight months after the incident. He sleeps next to his father and gets up in the middle of the night to escape the recurrence of traumatic memories, like hundreds of other restless pellet victims who live in all major towns and villages in Kashmir.

Injured baby refuels India pellet gun row

The plight of a 19-month-old child who suffered severe eye injuries after being hit by a pellet gun fired by security forces has renewed anger in Indian-administered Kashmir. Sameer Yasir reports. When Heeba Jan returned from hospital to her home in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Tuesday, curious neighbours, many of them small children, had gathered to see the “youngest victim” of pellet-induced eye injuries.

Indian pellet guns in Kashmir kill, blind and enrage – France 24

Srinagar (India) (AFP) Doctors are fighting to save the right eye of Hiba Jan, the 20-month-old who has become an emblem of India’s devastating and highly contentious use of pellet-firing shotguns in Kashmir, where a separatist conflict has raged since 1947.

An Epidemic of ‘Dead Eyes’ in Kashmir as India Uses Pellet Guns on Protesters

SRINAGAR, Kashmir – The street outside is patrolled by riot police officers in camouflage, bracing for the nightly spasm of violence, but it is quiet here inside the operating room. The surgeon’s knife slides into an eyeball as if it were a soft fruit.

Pellet guns have killed 24, blinded 139 in Kashmir since 2010: Report

Read more about Pellet guns have killed 24, blinded 139 in Kashmir since 2010: Report on Business Standard. According to Union Home ministry, pellet guns, tear gas and chilli-filled shells are considered as non-lethal weapons for controlling crowd during protests

Conflict in Kashmir Takes a Grim Toll on Unwitting Victims

A version of this story appears in the June 2018 issue ofNational Geographic magazine. Farzan Sheikh was in his bedroom doing his ninth-grade math homework when he heard a commotion outside. It was late in the afternoon of March 28, 2017, and a funeral procession was passing by in his neighborhood in Srinagar, in the part of Kashmir that’s administered by India.

Should the Use of Pellet Guns be Banned in Kashmir? | NewsClick

Amnesty International India released a report – Losing Sight in Kashmir: The Impact of Pellet-Firing Shotguns – calling for a complete ban on the use of pellet guns in Kashmir. The report depicts the plight of 88 victims of pellet guns in Kashmir whose eyesight was damaged in one or both eyes by pellets fired by J&K police and Central Reserve Police Force CRPF.

‘The government offers jobs to pellet victims, in return it takes our eyes’

One September evening ten years ago, Amir was taking a brisk walk through the empty streets of Baramulla, not far from the border with Pakistan in Kashmir, when a group of Indian security forces opened fire at him near the old bridge.

In Kashmir, Indian security forces use pellet guns that often blind protesters

After four days of chaotic and violent protests in Indian-administered Kashmir, at least 24 people are dead and hundreds injured. Doctors at the main hospital in Srinagar, the region’s capital, have struggled to cope with the casualties. Many of the wounded are lying two to a bed. Violence periodically flares up in Kashmir.

India: Ensure Rights Protections in Kashmir | Human Rights Watch

The Indian government should ensure that rights are protected after lifting some restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir State, Human Rights Watch said today. The government announced that it had partially restored landline connections, reopened schools, and withdrawn the ban on large gatherings.

J&K High Court dismisses plea against pellet gun use

Dismissing a petition seeking a ban on the use of pellet guns in Jammu and Kashmir by security forces, the J&K High Court on Monday reiterated its 2016 decision that said it is “not inclined to prohibit the use of pellets guns”.

Six Things You Should Know About Pellet Shotguns In Kashmir – Amnesty International India

1.What are “pellet guns” and why are they used? “Pellet guns” are pump-action shotguns which fire a cluster of small, round, metal pellets with high velocity over a wide area. A pellet shotgun cartridge can contain up to 500 pellets. Once shot, the cartridge explodes and the pellets disperse in all directions, harming everyone in …

J&K: Four photojournalists wounded as security forces use pellet guns against protestors in Shopian

At least four photojournalists were injured in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district after intense clashes erupted around the site of a gun fight between the security forces and militants on Tuesday, Kashmir Reader reported. At least two militants were reportedly killed in the encounter with Indian security forces in Shirmal area of South Kashmir’s Shopian district.

In Kashmir, “Non-Lethal” Weapons Cause Lethal Damage

On the evening of 10 July 2016, at around 6 pm, Tamana Ashraf, a nine-year-old girl, was sitting by the window of her house at Tulumulla, located in the Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir.

The teenager blinded by pellets in Kashmir

Photographer Abid Bhat here describes the life of 14-year-old Insha Mushtaq, who lost vision in both her eyes after being hit by pellets in Indian-administered Kashmir. “I just want to ask the security personnel who fired pellets at me what my fault was,” Miss Mushtaq says, as she stands by the same window she was sitting at when pellets blinded her.

My World is Dark – State Violence and Pellet-firing Shotgun Victims from the 2016 Uprising in Kashmir

This report records testimonies from 23 victims of pellet gun injuries. These testimonies reveal how the injuries have completely transformed the victims’ lives and destroyed their futures, rendering people unemployed and impoverished, in a helpless state.

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