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‘Use of force inevitable’ during mob violence — J&K High Court junks PIL against pellet guns

The PIL was filed by HC Bar Association of Kashmir in 2016, when the Valley erupted in clashes after the killing of militant Burhan Wani that July.

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Srinagar: The Jammu & Kashmir High Court Wednesday dismissed a PIL seeking a ban on the use of pellet guns in Kashmir, saying the use of force is “inevitable… so long as there is violence by unruly mobs”.

According to a bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur, the security personnel were just performing their public duty in the face of a violent mob.

The PIL was filed by the High Court Bar Association of Kashmir in 2016, when the Valley erupted in clashes following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani that July.

As hundreds of residents took to the streets in protest against the killing, security personnel deployed pellet guns to control the stone-pelting crowds.

More than 100 people were killed in the six-month-long unrest, and thousands injured. During the protests, images of Kashmiris — protesters and bystanders — with pellet injuries, many of them in the eyes, caught global attention

The Kashmir bar association subsequently moved court, saying 4,000 people were injured and nearly 100 blinded by pellets.

They asked the high court to prohibit the use of 12-bore pellet guns for crowd-control in J&K, and order the prosecution of security personnel who had used the weapons on protesters and non-protesters. The association had also sought government compensation for people injured in pellet injuries. 

Also Read: Kashmir pellet wounds not superficial: The story Abhijit Iyer-Mitra didn’t report

‘Security personnel attacked every day’

At the hearing Wednesday, the Jammu & Kashmir High Court bench said the court “cannot decide whether the use of force in particular incident is excessive or not” in the absence of any finding by a competent forum/authority.

“Thus, it is manifest that so long as there is violence by unruly mobs, use of force is inevitable. What kind of force has to be used at the relevant point of time or in a given situation/place, has to be decided by the persons in charge of the place where the attack is happening,” the bench added.

The bench then quoted from a September 2016 order of the same court that noted how “almost every day, in the guise of protests, the security personnel, their camps and police stations were targeted by unruly crowds, and that, if the protest is not peaceful and the security persons are attacked by huge and violent mobs, they have to necessarily use force in their self-defence and for protecting public property”. 

“Strictly speaking, it is not a case where compensation is being sought or claimed for wrongdoing of any security force personnel, or for violating any fundamental right of any citizen by them, but for the discharge of public duty by such security force personnel who were being attacked by violent mobs during the relevant period,” the court said.

 Also Read: Kashmir authorities say no pellet injuries, but here are 5 victims


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  1. The composition of the demonstrations and the geography of the protests clearly indicated that it was a pre-planned Muslim uprising. PIONEER

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