SRINAGAR (AFP) - The wards of the Bone and Joint Hospital in Srinagar provide ample evidence that pro-independence demonstrations in Occupied Kashmir have met with a tough response. At least seven patients tell of how they were shot by police or paramilitary troops at violent demonstrations that have erupted across the Himalayan region over the past three months. Aged between 15 and 35, they all have bullet wounds below the waist. They lie with their raised legs wrapped in dressings and pierced with metal rods to help bones heal properly. Most will limp for the rest of their lives, some may never walk again. Hospital staff who declined to be identified told AFP that 200 people have been treated for bullet wounds since the middle of June, when a wave of anti-India protests began. Authorities in Kashmir say security forces open fire on protesters as a last resort, normally when mobs pelt them with rocks and try to overrun guard posts and bunkers. The patients at the hospital, in the regions main town, have a different version of the clashes, at which - according to the police - more than 100 civilians have been shot dead during the worst violence in the Muslim-majority region for years. Sajjad Nabi, 23, was hit by a bullet on September 13 in Tangmarg town, where independence protests were fanned by reports of Holy Quran desecration in the United States. About 1,000 people were marching and the CPRF (paramilitaries) stopped us, Nabi, an unmarried builder, told AFP. Suddenly from 10 or 20 metres (yards) away they targeted us and opened fire. I cant say why, I dont know. I was shot in the upper thigh. Doctors took the bullet out, but theres nerve damage and they dont know if I will recover. Mukhtar Ahmed, 24, lies in the same dimly lit ward with paint peeling from the walls. He was also shot in the leg in Tangmarg. Ten boys in the protest were taken away by police, so everyone was angry and gathered at the police station, he said. There was not even a baton charge before firing began. I was shot and then beaten as I lay on the ground. All the wounded patients in the hospital deny throwing stones during rallies, but they vow to fight for Kashmir to split from Hindu-majority India. When I recover I will protest again, said Mohammed Ashraf, 26, who has large open wound on the front of his thigh after being shot in the northern town of Sopore - scene of regular bloody clashes this summer. It was direct fire at us. The police harass us all the time. They have stormed into my house, smashed up everything and beaten our women. We need freedom. For Raja Begum, it is her 15-year-old son Aqib who has paid the price. She spends her days by his bedside as he stares at the ceiling and listens to music on a mobile phone. I was walking on the other side of the road from a protest, he said. A bullet hit me from nowhere. The doctors took it out and now I must wait for my leg to heal. His mother is wide-eyed with anger. This shows the brutality of the authorities. India says it is a democracy, here we live under martial law. She accepts many teenagers do get involved in the clashes. What do you expect? These boys have known only oppression and violence since they were born.