Several ground reports have highlighted the unabated human rights violations, unlawful detention and the plight of women in Iran ever since the protests began on September 16, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody.
When children bear the brunt
Unfortunately, as per rights groups even children have also not been spared in the crackdown by Iran’s security forces. As per a report in The Guardian, at least 58 children, some as young as eight, have been shot by Iran’s security forces in the anti-regime protests that broke out in the Islamic nation two months ago.
As per data provided by Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA), 46 boys and 12 girls under 18 have already been killed. In November itself at least five children have been reportedly killed by Iranian forces amidst continuing violence across the country. Those who died last week, include nine-year-old Kian Pirfalak, one of the seven people shot down. Kian’s family, at his funeral, said the forces opened fire on the family car where Kian was sitting next to his father. Iran’s forces deny they are behind the incident, and blame the shooting on the ‘terrorists.’
The resolve continues
However, the inhuman crackdown by the regime has not been able to shake up the resolve of young Iranians, as HRA, highlights the intensity of protests among student community on its social media.
On November 20, students at Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences staged a sit-down while those at the University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences in Tehran protested before the dean’s office.
The families in Iran who spoke to The Observer about the death of their children, say they were killed by government forces. Hassan Daroftadeh said his son Komar died on the streets of his home town of Piranshahr in West Iran on October 30, after being shot multiple times from a close range. “Kumar was just standing on the street. He didn’t even say a word. I don’t know with what conscience they martyred him. Piranshahr is a small town. There were no protests that night, yet they martyred my son. He was just a little boy.” The heart-wrenching video of Daroftadeh crying by his son’s grave went viral on social media.
The Iranian regime, again, denies they are responsible for the death of Komar, and instead blame ‘foreigners’ for the crime. Left with nothing but lifelong of grief, Daroftadeh asks, “I’m shattered. Kumar was his mother’s lifeline. I don’t know how the officer who killed my son hugs his own children. I don’t know how he sleeps at night.”
The regime denies, blames ‘foreigners’
The death of Kumar’s is not the only heart-rending story to have been highlighted by the activists. Several inhuman crimes and atrocities occurring at the ground level have trickled their way onto social media. 17-year-old Mohammad Eghbal was on his way to say Friday prayers when he shot in the back in the capital of the Sistan and Baluchistan province.
His crime? Eghbal was a construction worker who had supported his family since the age of nine. He wanted to save up enough money to buy a smart phone so he could open an Instagram account. As per one of his extended family members, his last words to the officer who shot him was, “Please take my cell phone from my pocket and call my dad. Tell him I’ve been shot.”
In order to justify the shooting of the teenager, the regime through its sponsored media outlets, later labelled the boy as a ‘terrorist.’
Some statistics and ground reports
As per Hengaw Organisation for Human Rights, 12 children have died in the Kurdistan province since the protests began, of which three children died in the custody of Iranian special forces. Children dying in custody and teenagers being shot in the back are not the only crimes attributed to Iranian forces. In addition to attacking the cities, preventing people from donating blood and shelling vehicles carrying blood bank are some of the other atrocities being inflicted on the people, according to rights group Hengaw.
The powerful and the courageous
The protests in Iran have sparked an international outcry and led to an outpouring of strength and support from all quarters. Iran’s football team refused to sing the national anthem at the World Cup in solidarity with the protests against Khameini. Iran’s world cup captain, said on the world platform, “In the name of God, creator of rainbows…I want to say condolences to all the grieving families in Iran. We want them to know we are with them and by their side and share their pain.”