Srinagar, India-administered Kashmir – Danish Rajab, 24, used to work as a marketing executive for a company selling dairy products in the city of Srinagar in India-administered Kashmir. That was until the day his life changed forever.
The Kashmir valley has seen violent protests break out, triggered by the death of popular rebel militant commander, Burhan Wani on July 9. A curfew was imposed in most parts of the valley, almost immediately after his death, to contain the protests. Defying this curfew, people took to the streets in large numbers to protest against the killing.
On the evening of July 17, 2016, after the curfew had been lifted, Danish was hit by pellets in his face and eyes from a distance of about 10 metres, as he sat chatting with his friends at a tea stall near his house. He felt sharp pain and fell down with the shock. His friend, Aashiq, tried to lift him up. This was the last image that Danish saw.
The current unrest in the valley – which continues to this day even as the intensity has dwindled – has seen a new kind of injury inflicted by a new kind of non-lethal weapon, the pellet gun. Thousands have suffered damage to their eyesight as a result of pellet gun use by security forces to quell protests.
The pellet gun fires more than 500 sharp lead pellets at high velocity. Doctors say that even a single pellet entering the eye at that speed can cause grievous and irreversible damage.