Kashmir unrest: Explore other methods besides pellet guns, J&K HC to govt

“These are your own people. They have anger. They are protesting. (But that ) doesn’t mean they should be rendered disabled,” the court told the government.

Written by Sofi Ahsan | Srinagar | Updated: July 27, 2016 7:41 am
kashmir unrest, kashmir protest, kashmir valley, kashmir violence, kashmir, pellet gun, pellet guns kashmir, kashmir government, india news Victims with pellet injuries in their eyes in Srinagar. (Source: Express photo by Shuaib Masoodi)

COMING DOWN heavily on the state government, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Tuesday said the authorities cannot “justify” their actions and make people disabled just because they are angry and protesting, and asked the government to review the use of pellet guns.

“Can you not explore other (crowd control) methods using water, teargas shell or whatever you have instead of this (pellets) — because by now it has proven to be lethal,” the court told the government. “These are your own people. They have anger. They are protesting. (But that ) doesn’t mean they should be rendered disabled.”

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

The court asked the government to file a response on use of pellet guns and ensure that the guns are used only by trained people. “What one understands is that people using these shotguns or pellet guns…are not trained,” the Bench observed. “You are handing it to a person who is not trained (and that) makes it lethal.”

Replying to the government counsel’s contention that security forces have also been injured, Justice Attar said they have not received injuries of that proportion. “You have not shown one such injury in the eye or vital parts of body,” he said.

The petitioner then pleaded that the government should be directed to file a report on injuries suffered by police
personnel.

When the government counsel tried to draw the court’s attention towards its observation in an earlier decision to dismiss a petition seeking a ban on pellet guns, the Bench said, “Don’t rely upon earlier judgments. Your concern is human life…. Please don’t bank upon that; don’t justify the action.”

The Bench also asked the government to take an immediate decision on restoration of mobile connectivity in the Valley and said suspension of services is creating “huge problems”. “May be initially this (suspension of services) was a requirement. (But now) you can restore it area-wise. Your own students and people living outside…they have no contact with their families,” the court observed.

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