Jammu and Kashmir High Court Asks Centre for Report on Pellet Gun Use

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Protesters and the government face-off in Kashmir.

Srinagar:  The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has ordered a report from the Centre on the handling of “lethal” weapons by “untrained personnel” indicating its disapproval of the use of pellet guns by security personnel.
“Pellet is a round ball loaded with lead. If it penetrates the eye, which is a water ball, damage is done. Can’t you use other methods like water, tear gas? This (pellet gun) has proved to be lethal.” stated the court report.”These are your people. They have anger. They are protesting. That does not mean you should render them disabled. You have to protect them. Hope it (use of pellet guns) is reviewed,” a division bench comprising Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar said while hearing a PIL.

The court also asked the government to consider means of crowd control that do not involve pellet guns.

The court also observed that the high number of injuries to the civilians was due to untrained security personnel being allowed to use pellet guns. The comment was made in light of the CRPF DGP’s statement that 114 companies of the paramilitary force had to be called away mid-training to help control the situation in Kashmir.

The bench stated, “What one understands is those who are using them are not trained. It becomes lethal when handed over to a person who does not know how to use it. Ensure it is used only by trained personnel but we are not approving it.”

Consequently, the bench has asked the assistant solicitor general of India to file a response on the handling of pellet guns by the security forces.

“Maximum people have suffered eye injuries. People have also suffered injuries on vital body parts. File a response because the question does arise about the handling of these guns,” the bench said.

The court also urged immediate action from the government to restore mobile phone services in the Valley citing adverse impacts on the quality of life in the Valley.

“Take steps for restoring mobile connectivity in Kashmir Valley. Huge problems are being created. Maybe, initially, this was a requirement. You can restore it area-wise. Your own students and people outside have no contact with their families. You have to think on your feet,” it said. The bench added, “Non-communication is affecting the lives of everybody. You have to take a decision. You shall have to think seriously about connectivity and take a decision immediately.”


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