‘Pellet guns are not being used against any peaceful protest ’
Jammu: The government said on Saturday that there is no proposal under consideration to constitute a judicial commission to probe the death of 106 people during the 2016 uprising in Kashmir.
“No such proposal is under consideration of the government,” Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who holds the portfolio of home department, said in a written reply in the Legislative Assembly to a question by CPI(M) MLA, MY Tarigami.
The CPI(M) legislator had asked the government whether it intended to constitute a judicial commission to probe the killings.
Mehbooba said 85 people were killed in the Kashmir Valley and one life was lost in the Jammu region in protests in 2016, following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with government forces.
She said 20 people were killed in incidents of violence in 2017. She said 9,042 people were injured between July 2016 and February 27, 2017. The injured included 6,221 who were hit by pellets and 368 who received bullet injuries.
Mehbooba said a committee headed by the principal secretary, home, was constituted on January 27, 2017, to determine the eligibility of the families or next of kin of those killed in “law and order disturbances” in Kashmir from July 8, 2016, to November 2, 2016, for consideration and payment of ex-gratia.
On the recommendations of the committee, an ex-gratia relief of Rs five lakh each was sanctioned in favour of the families or next of kin of 77 civilians killed in law and order disturbances in the valley, the chief minister said.
Another committee was constituted under the chairmanship of the divisional commissioner, Kashmir, to identify people who have been permanently or partially disabled in the valley from July 8, 2016, to November 2, 2016, she said.
The committee in the first phase recommended 54 victims for grant of ex-gratia which was sanctioned by the government on January 5, 2018, she said.
In the second phase, Mehbooba said, the committee recommended 10 more cases in December 2017 for grant of ex-gratia relief and the recommendations were being examined.
She said 13 people had been appointed in various departments by the general administration department on compassionate grounds.
The chief minister said all the injured were treated with due care and specialised treatment was provided whenever required.
She said 936 people were detained under the provisions of the Public Safety Act from July 2016 to December 28, 2017.
“Detention cases are being reviewed by the government from time to time in consultation with the criminal investigation department… And a good number of persons have also been released from time to time,” she said.
At present, Mehbooba said, there are only 167 people in preventive detention including 16 detained under the provisions of the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.
On pellet guns, Mehbooba said, these are used sparingly and strictly as per the standard operational procedure for graded response in law and order situation, particularly when all the other means and methods of controlling the agitating mobs, like teargas, oleoresin grenades and stun grenades fail.
“The pellets are fired, as and when required, below the waist line so as to cause minimum damage to the member of the agitating mobs and the violent protesters. The pellet guns are not being used against any peaceful protest,” she said.
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association, Srinagar, had filed a PIL in 2016 before the court seeking ban on pellet guns as a means of crowd control.
The court, in its order on September 21, 2016, had declined to prohibit the use of the 12-bore pellet gun, she said.
The high court order has been challenged in the Supreme Court and the matter is currently sub-judice, Mehbooba said.