Disapproving of the use of pellet guns by security forces against protesters, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court today sought a report from the Centre on handling of the “lethal” weapons by “untrained personnel”.
“Pellet is a round ball loaded with lead. If it penetrates the eye, which is a waterball, damage is done. Can’t you use other methods like water, tear gas? This (pellet gun) has proved to be lethal.
“These are your people. They have anger. They are protesting. That does not mean you should render them disabled. You have to protect them. Hope it (use of pellet guns) is reviewed,” a division bench comprising Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar said while hearing a PIL.
The court also asked the government to look at other means of crowd control than pellet guns.
In the backdrop of the CRPF DGPs statement that 114 companies of the paramilitary force, which were undergoing training elsewhere, had to be summoned to Kashmir to control the situation, the court observed that the high number of injuries to the civilians was due to untrained security personnel using pellet guns.
“What one understands is those who are using them are not trained. It becomes lethal when handed over to a person who does not know how to use it. Ensure it is used only by trained personnel but we are not approving it,” it said.
The bench asked the Assistant Solicitor General of India to file a response on the handling of pellet guns by the security forces.
“Maximum people have suffered eye injuries. People have also suffered injuries on vital body parts. File a response because the question does arise about the handling of these guns,” the bench said.
The court also asked the government to restore mobile phone services in the Valley as the ban was affecting the people.
“Take steps for restoring mobile connectivity in Kashmir Valley. Huge problems are being created. Maybe, initially, this was a requirement. You can restore it area-wise. Your own students and people outside have no contact with their families. You have to think on your feet,” it said.
The bench said the mobile telephony ban cannot continue and the government should take a decision on it immediately.
“Non-communication is affecting the lives of everybody. You have to take a decision. You shall have to think seriously about connectivity and take a decision immediately,” it said. PTI SSB MIJ RC SK IKA