Srinagar: The J&K high court on Tuesday again came down heavily on government for continuous use of pellet shotguns in the Kashmir Valley, observing that angry people cannot be rendered disabled by it.
“This pellet has now proved to be lethal. These are your own people. They have anger and it does mean that they should be rendered disabled,” a division bench of Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar said while hearing a PIL filed by an NGO—JK Peoples Forum through its general secretary MM Shuja.
“What we understand about this pellet is that it is a round ball loaded with lead and when it penetrates the eye, which is actually a water ball, it damages the globe. Can’t you use water (cannons) or teargas shells,” the court said and expressed hope that use of pellets guns will be reviewed.
It also called into question the competence of the CRPF personnel using them.
“What one understands is that the people who are using these shotguns or pellet guns as you call them, they are not trained and they are not imparted any training before they use it (pellet guns),” the court said in the back drop of the statement by director general of CRPF that as many as 114 companies (about 11,400 personnel), which were undergoing training elsewhere, had to be pulled out and deployed in the Valley to control the situation arising after Hizb commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani’s death.
“CRPF DG himself admitted that the there are untrained companies deployed in the Valley. It may be non-lethal as per you but it becomes lethal when you give to untrained persons,” the court said, retorting to advocate general’s often-repeated argument’s that “technically, pellet is a non-lethal weapon.”
“Maximum people have suffered eye injuries or on their vital body party,” the court as advocate general contented that over 2000 CRPF personnel have been injured in the ongoing protests in the valley.
Subsequently, the court sent for Assistant Solicitor General of India SA Makroo who on appearance contended that pellet shotguns are used by trained personnel only.
“Don’ make off-the cuff statement in the court. In today’s newspapers, the CRPF DG is quoted to have stated that untrained personnel have been deployed in the valley. If you (CRPF) have to use it in extreme situation it should be used by trained persons,” the court said and asked the ASGI to file response about it “because question arises about handling the of pellet guns that is so important.”
“Its use can’t be approved now. In extreme circumstances, if required, but we are not approving it, is has to be handed by trained persons.”
The ASGI also referred to a judgment by the court’s division bench in 2013, dismissing clubbed PILs against the use of pellet guns.
“We are banning it due to previous order but don’t bank on it. It concerns human life. Precious is human life. Circumstances can change and in changing circumstances we can make further directions. Please don’t justify the action,” the court said and posted the PIL for further consideration on Monday.