Panel to review use of pellet guns

Panel to review use of pellet guns

Plebiscite old concept in Valley: Rajnath

Panel to review use of pellet guns
With scores being injured due to the use of pellet guns in Kashmir, the government on Thursday said it would look at other alternatives to control mobs.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in the Lok Sabha that he would set up an expert committee to look into the issue. “We believe that tear gas or water cannons should be used to control crowds,” said Singh, replying to a discussion on the recent violence in the Kashmir Valley, initiated by Congress member Jyotiraditya Scindia.

The home minister said more than 53 people suffered eye injuries, of which 23 were wounded in one eye, as security forces used pellet guns to control the crowd protesting the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. Singh also dismissed suggestions of holding a plebiscite in Kashmir, describing such demands as “irrelevant and outdated”.

Last week, former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah had raised an alarm on the high number of eye injuries during the protests and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to rush eye specialists to treat the victims, including several children.

2010 incident  
Singh said it was not for the first time that security forces had used pellet guns to control crowds. These guns were also used during the violence that erupted in 2010, he said.

“I don’t want to blame any government, but these (pellet guns) were also used then. Six people had lost their lives, 98 suffered serious eye injuries and five were completely blinded,” he said.

Singh said he would reach out to the people of Kashmir and try to address their concerns on the principles of Insaniyat, Jamhuriat and Kashmiriyat (humanity, democracy and J&K).

He also appealed to the other political parties, saying the government alone cannot solve the problems in Kashmir and all parties would have to work together.