NEW DELHI: Pellet guns cannot be used “indiscriminately” to control street protests in Kashmir, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday. The authorities, the court said, can take a decision to use them only after “proper application of mind”.
“All that we want is an assurance that pellet guns will not be used indiscriminately or excessively in the state and will be resorted to after proper application of mind,” said a bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur.
The observation of the court came while hearing a plea alleging “excessive” use of pellet guns in Kashmir. The court issued notices to the Central and the Jammu and Kashmir government, asking them to respond to the issue.
The court also asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to submit a copy of a report by the Expert Committee, which was constituted to explore alternatives to pellet guns, which had injured hundreds in the state during the five-month unrest since July.
Kashmir had witnessed violent unrest since Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani was killed by security forces. Around 100 people had died and 12,000 have been injured in the clashes between mobs and security forces. Hundreds have been blinded, mostly by pellet guns.
The appeal, seeking a stay on pellet gun usage, had been filed by Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association against a High Court order.
On September 22, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court had rejected an appeal that sought a ban on the use of pellet guns. The appeal had mentioned that the Centre had already formed a Committee of Experts to explore alternatives to pellet guns.
At the height of unrest, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had also appealed to the security forces to control the use of pellet guns, saying they have to learn to differentiate between terrorists and young people who were throwing stones on the street.