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Kashmir: Blinded by Conflict

Wei Tan | India

This school picture, from the Spring of 2016, is the last one taken of Insha before she was shot.

In the summer of 2016, after the death of popular Hizbul mujahideen leader Burhan Wani, Kashmir experienced months of violent protests where Indian officers used pellet guns - a form of a shotgun that indiscriminately shoot up to 500 small, round iron pellets - to subdue protestors. Kashmir is the one of the only areas remaining in the world that uses these guns as a form of crowd control.

Three days after Wani's death, in Sedow, the Southern part of Kashmir, an area that experienced some of the most violence, protests broke out on the only road passing through the village. Insha Mushtaq Lone, who was 14 years old, was studying at home when she looked outside, curious to the commotion. That’s when she was shot in the face by an Indian Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officer with over 100 pellets. Her right eye was ruptured, her left eye was severely damaged, and she subsequently lost total vision in both eyes. Since that day, Insha and her family’s life have completely changed.


captions and text by Lauren Stewart

Wei Tan is a freelance photojournalist who is currently working in Southern Asia but is based in both the United States and China. He undertakes long-term projects concerning social and environmental issues, as well as short-term assignments for magazines, newspapers, and companies. During his time living in China, Tan works in the field of advertising and portrait photography. Since 2011, while working in Southern Asia, he has focused on social issues.

email - tanweiimages@gmail.com

website - www.tanweiimages.com

cell - (+1) 803-665-5131

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