Srinagar: Former chief minister and Leader of Opposition Omar Abdullah on Friday questioned why pellet guns and chilli bombs were not used on the violent protesters who went on a rampage in three states of India after Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted for rape on Friday.
“Chilli bombs? Pepper grenades? Pellet guns? Do the forces keep those only for protesting Kashmiris?” Omar wrote on Twitter.
Ironically, it was Omar Abdullah’s government that in 2010 introduced pellet guns and later chilli grenades against pro-freedom demonstrators in Kashmir.
At least 31 people were reported killed in the rioting that followed Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim’s conviction.
“In light of the mounting death, I again repeat this tweet about the ‘non-lethal crowd control’ measures used extensively in Kashmir,” Omar tweeted again.
“Stone-pelting and violent clashes now being reported from multiple locations from Haryana. Exactly what was feared,” Omar wrote.
He mocked the government forces in Haryana for not using a human shield, as the security forces did this year in Kashmir.
“No human shields in Panchkula? Tried and tested crowd control technique much appreciated in many TV news studios not long ago,” he tweeted.
The Kashmiri Twitterati also mocked Indian journalists for not using pellet guns and Pava shells against the protesters.
“Where are the pellet guns and Pava shells, or are they only reserved for Kashmiris?” tweeted Shazia Mir in response to India Today journalist Rahul Kanwal’s tweets on the violent protests.
Pellet guns were introduced by the Omar government to stop pro-freedom protests in 2010. On August 19, 2010, 19-year-old Mudasir Nazir Hajam died of injuries from pellets that were fired from close range into his abdomen by a CRPF trooper in Sopore.
During last year’s uprising that followed the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani, pellet guns were extensively and ruthlessly used on protesters. They blinded and maimed hundreds of Kashmiri youths and killed several of them. According to data compiled by the Health and Medical Education Department, about 6,200 people sustained injuries from pellets between July and November last year. More than 1,000 of them were hit by pellets in their eyes, rendering them blind in one or both eyes.
Hurriyat leader Manan Bukhari, who compiled cases of pellet victims from 2010 to 2015 in a book titled ‘Kashmir: Scars of Pellet Guns’, recorded that the use of pellets by government forces caused the death of 10 persons and injuries to 1,500 in this period.