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Consider alternatives to pellet guns in Kashmir: SC

New Delhi: Telling the Modi government to consider alternatives to pellet guns, the Supreme Court on Monday suggested technology-based solutions to control mobs in Jammu and Kashmir.

Pointing out that it appreciated the situation confronting the security forces in Kashmir, Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said the alternatives to pellet guns should be “very very technology-based measures” that protect both sides.

The apex court reminded the government that India was a welfare state.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said he would get back to the court. The court then granted two weeks for consideration of the alternatives to the pellet guns.

The court was hearing a petition filed by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association for a ban on the use of pellet guns by security forces.

The lawyers’ body had challenged a Jammu and Kashmir High Court order which said that it was entirely for security agencies to decide what kind of force was needed to be used in a given situation.

The top court had on December 14, 2016 sought the central government’s response on the Bar Association plea.

The Bar Association counsel told the apex court that pellet guns had led to devastating injuries to even those living in nearby areas, including those watching the protests from their homes.

However, underlining the involvement of anti-national elements, Rohatgi told the court that pellet guns were used only after all other steps, including warnings and lathicharge, were exhausted.

Rohatgi said that in 252 attacks on Central Reserve Police Force camps from July 8 to August 11 last year, as many as 1,775 personnel were injured, 79 grievously.

Telling the bench that security forces were dealing with “anti-national people” and that national integrity and sovereignty were at stake, the Attorney General said: “How to use, what to use, and in what manner to be used is something that can only be decided on the ground by people dealing with the situation.”

—IANS