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Is ‘notorious’ pellet gun use avoidable

Recent unrest in Kashmir valley created clamour across local population against usage of ‘pellet gun’, a crowd control weapon, for it caused deaths and eye injuries beyond recovery. The question: ‘Is the notorious pellet gun use avoidable’ bothers those seeing young protesters as country’s own.

S.S.Bijral former IGP backed by his rich experience in handling crowd control particularly in valley felt that the direction of Supreme Court to the Centre and J&K state ‘that the pellet gun should not be used indiscriminately and excessively for controlling unruly mob’ is valuing the spirit that the protesters, though enemy instigated, are but our own nationals having the secured right to protest. There is nothing new in this direction.

In the crowd control, existing law mandates ‘minimum force shall be used to disburse the crowd’. This direction, however, is significant as it upheld decision of J&K HC rejecting J&K High Court Bar Association plea to ban ‘pellet gun use’. Bijral, however, said that the public cry and limited use direction of the apex court has thrown a workable challenge of controlling crowd respecting human dignity as one death was caused and hundreds injured, admitted by Home Minister in Lok Sabha, by use of pellet gun.

Bijral BJP state spokesperson felt that armed police well trained to face law and order need to invest extra to strengthen own capabilities to keep at bay the stone pelters as they stand securely protected physically. He recalled successful commanders of armed police always had their force kept well tuned and fit to brace rioters, howsoever, violent through actual heavy stone pelting exercises to their men in units following time tested words of Norman Schwarzkopf : “Those who sweat in peace bleed less in war”. The police troupes so trained disarmed their opponent by accepting and controlling the stones pelted. The local commanders, Bijral said, would do well to mind that protesters with stones are our own people and bullet that is answer only to the bullet, cannot be answer to the stone.

The pellet gun, non lethal, is bound to be used by security forces equipped to take on armed militants and not the riotous crowd. For this ground reality CM Mehbooba Mufti on record had questioned those crying against use of pellet gun, “had they gone to forces camp to have pakoras that they faced pellets of the gun,” and very rightly so? The riotous youth, it is hoped would do well to stay away from forces camps