J&K HC slams govt over use of pellet guns by forces

A division bench of the J&K High Court asked the government to review the use of pellet guns which has proven to be lethal.

Written by Sofi Ahsan | Srinagar | Published: July 26, 2016 8:48 pm
Pellet guns, J&K HC, review use of pellet guns, lethal consequences of pellets, Kashmir unrest, Kashmir protests, Kashmir violence, Kashmir news, India news Victims with pellet injuries in their eyes in Srinagar last week. (Photo: Shuaib Masoodi)

Jammu & Kashmir High Court on Tuesday came down heavily on the state government over the use of pellet guns by forces to control mob saying the authorities cannot “justify” their action and make people disabled just because they are angry and protest.

A division bench of the court asked the government to review the use of pellet guns which has proven to be lethal. “Can’t you explore other methods using water, using teargas shell or whatever you have instead of this (pellets) because now by experience it has proven to be lethal,” the court told the government. “These are your own people. They have anger. They are protesting. (It) doesn’t mean they should be rendered disable.”

The bench comprising Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Muzzafar Hussain Attar said that maximum people have suffered injuries in eye and vital parts of their body. “What we understand is that this pellet is a round ball loaded with lead. Eye is primarily a water ball. When it (pellet) penetrates and hits it, damage is done,” the bench said during hearing of a Public Interest Litigation.

The court asked the government to file a response on the usage of pellet guns and ensure the guns are only used by trained persons. “What one understands is that the people who are using these shotguns or pellet guns are not trained how to use them,” the bench observed.

When the government counsel said that there were injuries suffered by armed forces as well, Justice Attar said they have not suffered these types of injuries. “You have not shown one such injury in eye or vital parts of body,” he said.

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The bench said the court does not approve the usage of the pellet guns but cannot ban it because of an earlier order where they had dismissed a petition seeking ban on pellet guns saying “the petition has been filed with oblique motive.”

“Don’t rely upon earlier judgments. Your concern is human life. We have to go by that judgment (but) precious is human life. Circumstances change and in changing circumstances you can have further directions,” the court said when the government counsels drew attention towards the earlier order. “Please don’t bank upon that. Don’t justify the action.”

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