A report published by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) claimed that at least 87 people were killed and thousands injured in the violent clashes that erupted in Kashmir after the killing of militant leader Burhan Wani by security forces.
The report described the excessive and indiscriminate use of force against protesters by Indian state with weapons misleadingly represented as less than lethal.
The weapons included tear gas grenades, pepper gas shells, live ammunition, and 12-gauge shotguns loaded with metal pellets, which account for the majority of injuries.
While Indian authorities claimed that the use of these weapons was meant to reduce the potential for injuries or fatalities, PHR researchers found that their use had in fact caused serious injury and death.
The report also said that authorities actively impeded protesters’ access to urgent medical care, both by harassing medical workers attempting to treat protesters and by preventing doctors from reaching the hospitals where they work.
Officials have reportedly ordered medical workers to ask the names and medical information of patients admitted at the end of the day in order to later arrest them for “unlawful assemblies.”
The report also observed that the police response to the protests showed complete indifference to the international standards and, and the lack of accountability left security forces free rein to further abuse their power.
PHR is a global organization of health professionals, with their specialized skills and credible voices, who uniquely positioned to stop human rights violations.