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SC questions Centre’s use of pellet guns in Kashmir to quell unrest

LiveMint logoLiveMint 27-03-2017 Apurva Vishwanath

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday weighed in on the government’s use of pellet guns in Kashmir during the unrest last year following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani.

“There is no question of the court saying what weapons to use but the situation has arisen and we are a welfare state after all,” the court said.

“We are of an impression that there are other methods that can be adopted,” the court added.

A bench comprising Chief justice of India J.S. Khehar, justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul was hearing a petition filed by the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association.

The Centre placed before the court an October 2016 report by the ministry of home affairs on alternatives to pellet guns but asked the court to not accept the copies on record. The government’s top law officer attorney general Mukul Rohatgi said that the report might fall into undesirable hands.

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Rohtagi also defended the use of pellet guns in Kashmir and said that the issue is not for the courts to decide.

“Of course we cannot tell between a citizen and a mercenary masquerading as a citizen when there is a mob. We are not denying that excessive force might have been used in certain cases but the issue is not judicially manageable.”

The court also asked the government to state steps taken for minors who were injured due to pellet guns. The Centre has sought two weeks to reply.

The case will be heard next on 10 April.

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