Consider alternative for pellet guns, SC tells govt

Consider alternative for pellet guns, SC tells govt

Must protect people of J&K, security forces, says top court

Consider alternative for pellet guns, SC tells govt
The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to consider an alternative for pellet guns to deal with the protesting mob in Jammu and Kashmir. “Being a welfare state, it is the 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 three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar told Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi.

It gave the attorney general two weeks for the same. The court apparently concurred with the submission of Rohatgi, appearing for the CRPF, that there were extreme situations in the state with people resorting to agitation, violence, using petrol and kerosene bombs on security forces and acting as a shield to the militants’ firing.

“We appreciate that... there is a lot of pressure. However, what can be adopted should not cause harm to individuals,” the bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul, said. The court suggested some technology-based measures and use of foul-smelling water to quell the protesting mobs.  It posted the matter for April 10.

The court was hearing a petition filed by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association, seeking direction to put in place a Standard Operating Procedure for the use of pellet guns, and making it mandatory to seek prior permission of an executive magistrate before using them.

The petitioner claimed that more than 500 people suffered grievous injuries and scores others died due to the use of such weapons. Rohatgi pointed out that there were 1,522 incidents of violence across Kashmir following the killing of Hizb militant Burhan Wani on July 8, besides 387 incidents of attacks  on security forces. Over 50 people died during this period and 3,000 others were injured.

“This is a border state. Everyday, we have terrorist attacks planned by our adversary state. Who is instigating whom, nobody knows. The state is placed in a very delicate situation. There are anti-nationals raising slogans and flying flags of other nations. No government can kill its own people,” Rohatgi said, adding it was not for the court to decide which weapon should be used by the security forces. The bench suggested identifying four or five volatile areas and putting in place some infrastructure so that the job of the security forces becomes easier.