Use of force inevitable during mob violence : J&K HC junks PIL against pellet guns

Srinagar (J&K) – Stating that use of pellets was inevitable as long as there is violence by an unruly mob, Jammu & Kashmir High Court on 11th March refused to ban the use of pellet guns for crowd control.

While dismissing a petition filed by Kashmir Bar Association to ban the use of pellet guns, the High Court observed : “What kind of force has to be used at the relevant point of time or in a given situation and place has to be decided by the persons in charge of the place where the attack is happening”. The HC order said that it is obvious that so long as there is ‘violence by unruly mobs, use of force is inevitable’.

The Bar had in 2016 sought a ban on the use of pellet guns in Kashmir and sought sanction for prosecution of security officers for using pellet guns against protesters. (Does the Kashmir Bar Association expect that stone-pelters be welcomed by the security personnel with flowers ? Why does the Kashmir Bar Association not advise religious fanatics to desist from pelting stones at security forces which are engaged in fighting Pakistan-sponsored terrorists ? – Editor)

“Having regard to the ground situation prevailing as of now and the fact that Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs has already constituted a Committee of Experts through its Memorandum dated 27th July 2016, for exploring other alternatives to pellet guns, before filing the report by the Expert Committee and a decision was taken at the Government level, we are not inclined to prohibit the use of pellet guns in rare and extreme situations”, the HC observed.

In response to the Bar’s petition, the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) told the Court, “In case this (pellet gun) is withdrawn from the options available, its personnel would have no recourse in extreme situations, but to open fire with rifles which may cause more fatalities”,