J&K HC dismisses plea seeking ban on pellet guns in Kashmir

News Update

SRINAGAR — The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Wednesday refused to ban the use of pellet guns for crowd control in Kashmir by dismissing the plea filed by the Kashmir High Court Bar Association. The HC said that the use of pellets was “inevitable as long as there is violence by an unruly mob.”

The High Court dismissed the petition filed by Kashmir High Court Bar Association. According to the judgement, the HC said: “What kind of force has to be used at the relevant point of time or in a given situation and place has to be decided by the persons in charge of the place where the attack is happening.”

The Bar had in 2016 sought a ban on the use of pellet guns in Kashmir and sought sanction for prosecution against security officers for using pellet guns against protesters.

In Kashmir, after the killing of 22-year-old militant commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani on July 08, 2016, over 100 protesters were killed after the government forces fired bullets and pellets.

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In July 2016, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association, after seeing the condition of pellet wounded youngsters, filed a petition asking for a ban on the use of pellet guns by the government forces.

Later, the Central government also said it constituted an expert committee to explore an alternative to pellet guns. However, it said, there cannot be a complete withdrawal of the use of pellet guns in the Valley.

Responding to the petition of the Bar, which was seeking a ban on pellet guns, the CRPF had told the J&K High Court on August 17, 2016, that 3765 cartridges of 9 number had been fired from the pump-action guns since July 08, 2016. With each cartridge containing 450 metallic balls, the CRPF had used 1.3 million pellets on protesters in two months. The CRPF had told the court that pellet guns, introduced in 2010, are “riot control” weapons.

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“In case this is withdrawn from the options available with the CRPF, CRPF personnel would have no recourse in extreme situations, but to open fire with rifles which may cause more fatalities,” the CRPF had said in an affidavit.

In September 2016 also, the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir justified the use of pellet guns calling it “inevitable.”

The fresh order by the HC said that it is manifest that so long as there is “violence by unruly mobs, use of force is inevitable.”

“Having regard to the ground situation prevailing as of now and the fact that Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs has already constituted a Committee of Experts through its Memorandum dated July 27, 2016, for exploring other alternatives to pellet guns, before filing the report by the Expert Committee and a decision taken at the Government level, we are not inclined to prohibit the use of pellet guns in rare and extreme situations,” the HC observed.

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