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Iranian women shot in eyes, breasts and thighs during anti-hijab protests: Report

India Today logo India Today 09-12-2022 India Today Web Desk
Iranian women shot in eyes, breasts and thighs during anti-hijab protests: Report © Provided by India Today Iranian women shot in eyes, breasts and thighs during anti-hijab protests: Report

As anti-hijab protests rage on in Iran, security forces, who have brutally cracked down on demonstrators with batons and handcuffs, are reportedly targeting unarmed women with shotgun fire to their faces, breasts and genitals, a report said. 

The "birdshot pellets" which security forces fired on protesters from close range targeted women's faces, breasts and genitals, The Guardian reported, citing medics who treated the bullet wounds. 

Images accessed by the US media outlet showed people with dozens of tiny "shot" balls lodged deep in their flesh. But men were shot in their legs, buttocks, and backs.

Read | What the Iranian anti-hijab protest unveiled

"I treated a woman in her early 20s who was shot in her genitals by two pellets. Ten other pellets were lodged in her inner thigh. These 10 pellets were easily removed, but those two pellets were a challenge, because they were wedged in between her urethra and vaginal opening," a doctor was quoted as saying, indicating that men and women were targeted in different ways. 

Some of the other medics accused security forces, including the feared pro-regime Basij militia, of ignoring riot control practices, such as firing weapons at feet and legs to avoid damaging vital organs, the report said.

Read | 'Death to dictator': Schoolgirls in Iran remove hijabs as they take up baton against govt

Protests have swept Iran since September 16 following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin in custody after being arrested by the morality police for allegedly flouting the Sharia-based hijab law.

Protesters have burned their head coverings, shouted anti-government slogans and tossed turbans off Muslim clerics' heads. Since Mahsa Amini's death, a growing number of women have not been observing hijab, particularly in Tehran's fashionable north.

Meanwhile, Iranian authorities have accused the United States, Israel, European powers and Saudi Arabia of being behind the persisting unrest, saying they used Amini's death as an "excuse" to target the country and its foundations.

The hijab, which has been mandatory since shortly after the country's 1979 Islamic revolution, has been a central ideological issue for Iranian authorities, who have repeatedly said they will not back down from it.

Read | 'Mullahs must get lost': Iranians sing at new Mahsa Amini protests

Watch | What do we learn from the hijab protests in Iran?

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