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Use pellet guns as ‘second last resort’ in Kashmir, says Home Ministry

The Home Ministry also asked for a report from the ITBP/CRPF regarding the recent videos of jawans being assaulted in Kashmir during election duty for the Srinagar bypolls.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: April 17, 2017 8:56:53 pm
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After holding extensive consultations with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Home Ministry on Monday issued Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) for security agencies deployed in Kashmir and directed them to use pellet guns as the second last resort. The ministry also said that the government would ensure the supply of plastic bullets and PAVA shells to be used on stone pelters in the Valley instead of pellets. It also sought a report from the ITBP/CRPF regarding the recent videos of jawans being assaulted in Kashmir during election duty for the Srinagar bypolls. There are however no plans to take up former Union minister Yashwant Sinha’s report on Kashmir. The report, submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh last year, notes that Kashmiris are angry over the use of pellet guns only in the strife-torn region.

According to the report, Kashmiris had pointed out that pellet guns are “not used in the rest of India even under grave provocation like the Jat agitation in Haryana, the protests against Cauvery water sharing in Karnataka, or the Patel agitation in Gujarat”.

Last week, a video showing CRPF personnel on polling duty being heckled by protesters in Chadoora area of Budgam district went viral. Despite the heckling, the CRPF personnel did not retaliate and their restraint drew praise from the J&K DGP.

The central government had on April 10 informed the Supreme Court about new SoPs to tackle stone pelters, one of which included the introduction of new rubber-based shots instead of pellets. This came two weeks after the SC had asked the government to consider using alternatives other than pellet guns to deal with protesters in Kashmir, as efforts needed to be made to ensure nobody was harmed. “Being a welfare state, it is a duty of the government to ensure safety of its people as well as security forces. The purpose is not to cause physical harm to its people but at the same time protect all,” a bench led by Chief Justic of India JS Khehar had said.

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