HC Issues Notices To State, Centre On ‘Pepper Gas’

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SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday shot off notices to the state and central governments over the forces’ use of pepper gas on protestors, demanding a reply within two weeks.

The High Court was responding to a petition by advocate BA Misri seeking a ban on the use of this gas.

Misri had cited media reports about the gas having caused at least one death, and argued that its use put the health of people at grave risk.

This is the second petition filed in the Court over the pepper gas, but the only one to be admitted for hearing, reports said.

Misri has named several diseases which, according to him, could be caused or worsened by exposure to the variety of tear gas now being widely used by the police and the paramilitary forces to break up demonstrations.

Apparently, the gas is a part of the government’s “non-lethal” arsenal to tackle street protests which it had been talking about after the high civilian fatalities in forces’ action during Kashmir’s summer agitations, particularly in 2010.

The State Human Rights Commission too has taken strong note of the use of the gas, and begun consulting experts about its adverse impact on health.

Chest Diseases specialist Dr. Muzaffar Mirza hs already deposed before the Commission which has already asked the state government to stop using the gas.

Central medical experts too are expected to be consulted by the Commission.   

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