Difficult To Handle Crowds Without Pellet Guns: DGP

SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir police and paramilitary CRPF on Monday asserted that they will follow whatever decision Government of J&K takes on the use of pellets guns in the Valley.

Director General of Police (DGP), Dr SP Vaid told Kashmir Observer that the force will follow the decision of the government whether to use pellets guns or not.

“Whatever decision J&K Government takes, JK Police will implement it,” the DGP said.

DGP, however, said that it “will be very difficult” to handle the crowd “without pellets”.

“It will be very difficult to handle crowd,” he said, “there can be more casualties but we have to respect the decision of honourable Supreme Court.”

Notably, the Supreme Court on Monday gave two weeks to union government to consider alternatives to the use of pellet guns in Jammu and Kashmir. The court also asked the government to devise ways which ensure that both the sides are protected.

The apex court was hearing a plea filed by Kashmir High Court Bar Association (KHBA) which sought directions for use of pellet guns in the valley.

The debate surrounding use of pellet guns grew in the wake of protests following killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani. 

Inspector General of CRPF Kashmir range, Ravideep Singh Sahi, while speaking to the Kashmir Observer echoed DGP J&K Police saying, that his force will follow the government decision.

“We are government servants, whatever its decision will be, we (CRPF) will follow it,” Ravideep said.

Ravideep, however, added that he has already given “clear instructions” to his men to use pellet guns when the situation is ‘’grave and extreme”.

“Since I have assumed office (in Kashmir) in December 2016, not a single pellet has been fired from our side, we don’t want to use it but we use it in extreme situation; when we have threat of loss of life and property,” he said.

At least 15 civilians were killed and over 600 others blinded partially or completely during the summer uprising of 2016 due to the ‘indiscriminate’ use of pellets by forces. The people hit by pellets in their eyes have to undergo multiple surgeries to correct their vision.

After facing heat over the use of pellets in Valley, the union government had earlier provided PAVA grenades to CRPF as a replacement for pellet guns.

However, security sources said, “the CRPF submitted a counter report to (union) Home Ministry claiming that PAVA or Chilli Grenade was proving ‘less effective’ on ground while dealing with protesters.” “It was subsequently decided (by Union Home Ministry) to modify pellet guns with the instruction that they should be fired at the feet or legs of the protesters.”

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