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3-min read

SC Asks Centre to Consider Effective Alternative to Pellet Guns

The attorney general, who was countering the contention of the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association counsel over the death and injuries of protestors besides spectators watching incidents from window of their house, said total of 1775 CRPF personnel were injured out of which 79 were grievously injured in the protests held between July 8 and August 11, 2016.

PTI

Updated:March 27, 2017, 7:36 PM IST
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SC Asks Centre to Consider Effective Alternative to Pellet Guns
Image used for representation purpose. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday expressed concern over the pellet gun injuries suffered by minors who indulged in stone pelting in Jammu and Kashmir and asked the Centre to consider other effective means to quell the protests as it concerns "life and death".

It conceded that though the use of pellet guns by the security forces was not a judicial issue, it can intervene in the matter to find a solution acceptable to the parties concerned.

"We are trying to understand our indulgence in the matter which cannot be considered as an interference but we are putting in the points where both parties can be protected as far as possible," a bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar said.

The court expressed concern on the issue and gave two weeks time sought by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to ponder over the suggestions to look into the effective alternatives to the pellet guns, saying it is the issue of "life and death".

When the bench also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul made the life and death remark, Rohatgi retorted, saying, "What life and death, it has happened to us (security forces) also."

The attorney general, who was countering the contention of the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association counsel over the death and injuries of protestors besides spectators watching incidents from window of their house, said total of 1775 CRPF personnel were injured out of which 79 were grievously injured in the protests held between July 8 and August 11, 2016.

He said that during the period, 252 attacks were carried out on CRPF camps and ambulances, hospitals and police vehicles were trageted with cocktails of petrol bombs, kerosene bombs, sharp-edged weapons, besides stone pelting by the protestors who usually muffled their face.

The attorney general also countered the submission of the state lawyers body that the security forces should identify the people in the mob and follow the traditional security drill and use of pellet guns should be the last resort.

He said that it is an impossible task as there are people who join the protests "in enthusiasm" and also there are those who are anti-national and trained across the border.

Rohatgi said, "Pellet guns are used sparingly as the last resort. There are very serious and delicate situations. The protests there are not like a procession of lawyers marching from the Delhi High Court to the Supreme Court.

"Here is the question of the nations integrity and security. You dont know who is in the crowd. They are having weapons. There are stone pelters who comes from various directions. People carry sharp-edged weapons. There are a cocktails of weapons."

To this, the court asked the attorney general whether there was any instance when people from across the border were also injured.

"We cant find out. They indulge in violence and run away. We cannot find out who is innocent or who is an instigator or who is their leader," Rohatgi said, adding that every day people from across the border are coming and attacking the security forces and the civilians.

The court said that it is not the subject that has to be decided by the courts nor can there be a judicial redressal as it is a delicate situation.

"It is not a question of courts saying what to do. But the situation concerns a welfare state. You need to protect the country. You need to protect the citizens. You need to protect the security forces. You need to protect the property.

"Every state is specific to the needs of a situation. The situation is different and we are aware of the consequences but what concerns us is that children have suffered," the bench observed during an hour-long hearing.

It suggested that the records before the court point out that there are four to five spots of such agitation and what is required is that a constructive study to have a infrastructural set up to stop such crowds from proceedings ahead of a point.

"If you can do that at four or five points then you will deal with 90 per cent of the job. You dont have to take such measures using pellet guns," the bench said.

The court also said, "We will also not accept damage caused to the property by the people. But today we understand that there are means that can be brought into effective use to control such situations."

It suggested to the attorney general to consider other technology-based measures like microwave to disperse the protestors and water which tastes and smell aweful that will make people go away.

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| Edited by: Nakshab Khan
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