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  India   All India  28 Mar 2017  Use of pellet guns under Supreme Court lens

Use of pellet guns under Supreme Court lens

Published : Mar 28, 2017, 12:30 am IST
Updated : Mar 28, 2017, 6:28 am IST

Pellet guns were used in Kashmir during the unrest last year following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani.

Burhan Wani
 Burhan Wani

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to consider using more effective technical means to deal with agitations in Jammu and Kashmir rather than using pellet guns.  

A Bench of Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul gave this suggestion to attorney-general Mukul Rohatgi and asked him to weigh in the disadvantages of using pellet guns on students as it concerns life and death.

When the bench made the life and death remark, Mr Rohatgi retorted, saying, “What life and death, it has happened to us (security forces) also.”

Pellet guns were used in Kashmir during the unrest last year following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani.

The bench also expressed concern over injuries suffered by minors involved in protests in the Kashmir Valley and asked the government what action has been taken by it against their parents. The CJI said “the security agencies can use more sophisticated measures which will not result in physical harm to the agitators. We want the agitators and security personnel to be protected.   

The attorney general, who was countering the contention of the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association counsel over the death and injuries of protesters besides spectators watching incidents from window of their house, said total of 1775 CRPF personnel were injured out of which 79 were grievously injured in the protests held between July 8 and August 11, 2016.

Mr Rohatgi said that during the period, 252 attacks were carried out on CRPF camps and ambulances, hospitals and police vehicles were targeted with cocktails of petrol bombs, kerosene bombs, sharp-edged weapons, besides stone pelting by the protesters who usually muffled their face.

The attorney-general also countered the submission of the state lawyers’ body that the security forces should identify the people in the mob and follow the traditional security drill and use of pellet guns should be the last resort.

The AG said in a war-like situation it is not possible to distinguish between terrorists and others who attack security forces from all sides. Pellet guns are used only a last resort if the forces find it difficult to handle the situation. It may not be possible to visualise a situation when it can be used or not. He produced a report in a sealed cover as to how the situation was handled last year and when pellet guns were used. The report also suggested new measures to quell the situation in future and it is under the consideration of the government, he said and requested that the report should not be made public as it will go into hands of undesirable elements.

The Jammu and Kashmir high court had on September 22, 2016 rejected the plea seeking a ban on use of pellet guns on the ground that the Centre had already constituted a Committee of Experts through its memorandum dated July 26, 2016 for exploring alternatives to pellet guns. The present appeal by J and K bar association is against this order.  The Bench listed the matter for further hearing on April 10. eom

Tags: burhan wani, pellet guns, supreme court