Pellet guns: SC asks J&K Bar to suggest effective solution

Pellet guns: SC asks J&K Bar to suggest effective solution

The Supreme Court on Monday told the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association, which has challenged the use of pellet guns, to come out with an effective solution.

The government told the apex court that it resorted to pellets only when the crowd took on the security forces in close proximity.

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice J S Khehar said, “If real bullets were used instead of pellets, at least 20,000 people would have been dead by now. Deaths are there and it is very unfortunate. It has to stop but damage to properties also has to stop. If you go on destroying public properties, then you will have to be stopped. We don’t have to stop people from agitating but we will have to stop the mob from using unwarranted force. As a person, what am I expected to do if a mob runs towards my house with petrol bombs in hands,” the bench asked.

Citing the information furnished by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi that more than 20,000 shots were fired by the security forces between July and August 2016 following the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani, the bench asked the bar association to keep politics away and come up with its suggestion within two weeks.

As Rohatgi submitted that a new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been framed to regulate the usage of pellet guns, the bench wondered why almost 90% of the victims were in the age group of 13-20 years or even below that.

“We are on a very important and sensitive issue. Since you are the bar association, you should take the other side to court, if you feel they (government) are wrong. The bar has played the greatest role in the country. It can’t be part of the establishment, but if it becomes part of the crowd, then it becomes irrelevant. You have to think what the hallmark of your profession is,” the bench said, putting the matter for consideration on April 28.

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