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HindustanTimes Mon,14 Jul 2014

Separatists to move court against pellet guns' use

Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, May 22, 2013
First Published: 20:19 IST(22/5/2013) | Last Updated: 20:20 IST(22/5/2013)

A day after a youth was grievously injured in security forces' firing in Srinagar, moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Wednesday decided to knock the doors of the court to ban the use of newly introduced non-lethal weapons like pellet and pepper guns.

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"The blatant use of force on young protesters by using pellet guns, which inflict lethal injuries, amounts to extreme form of political retribution," said the Mirwaiz in a statement issued from his Srinagar's Nigeen residence, where he continues to remain under a house arrest for the past five days. 

 Suhail Majid Khan (19), a resident of Srinagar's Khalid Colony in Soura area, was critically injured on Tuesday when security forces fired pellets to quell protesters in the parts of the old city. He received several pellet injuries on his body.

"His condition remains critical even after 24 hours," said a doctor attending on him in Srinagar's SKIMS hospital. The authorities on Tuesday had denied the separatists any permission to organise any mass rally in Srinagar, fearing law and order situation.

However, incidents of stone pelting and protests were reported from the old city on Tuesday following the anniversary programme of two slain separatist leaders Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq and Abdul Ghani Lone, who were killed in two incidents of assassinations in 1990 and 2002 respectively.

The pellet injury of the youth has sparked sharp reaction from the Mirwaiz. 
 
"The youth was targeted by pellets. We condemn the targeting of Suhail and other scores of youth with pellets," said the Mirwaiz. The Hurriyat has decided to file a case in the court against the use of pellet gun, pepper gas and chilly grenades, which were introduced in Kashmir after the 2010 street agitation.

Ahsaan Untoo, chairman of the International Forum for Justice and Human Rights Forum J&K, has already filed a petition before the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) in first week of May over the use of pellet guns.
 
"In the fresh turmoil triggered by execution of the 2001 parliament attack convict Afzal Guru on February 9, the hospitals registered 12 cases of damaged eyes because of pellet guns," claimed Untoo in his petition.
 
The SHRC, in response to the petition, passed strict directions to the police. "Nobody doubts the powers or questions the powers of the law enforcing agencies to bring law and order situation under control.

"But at the same time the law enforcing agencies are duty bound to follow standard operating procedure and adhere to non-lethal methods to mob control to prevent such type of permanent disabilities," said SHRC's member justice Rafiq Fida.

Justice Fida also observed that the enforcing agencies resorted to pellet gun as an alternative weapon "but it apparently caused more serious injuries.
 
"The law enforcing agencies have not achieved the desired goal. Prima facie a case of human rights violation is made out," said justice Fida.


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