Jammu: In a significant development, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has declined to ban pellet guns and justified their use by the security forces in volatile situations.
The court made this observation on Wednesday and said that the use of force by security agencies is “inevitable” while dealing with protesters who take to violence.
The court said this in response to a petition filed by its bar association.
The court further said that it is “not inclined to prohibit the use of pellet guns in rare and extreme situations”.
The division bench of Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey also declined the plea in a PIL to issue directions to prosecute officers involved in use of pellet guns.
It said the issue cannot be considered in the present writ petition since no findings of use of excessive force or violation of standard operating procedure (SOP) have been recorded by any fact-finding authority.
The court said given the situation in the Valley, and the fact that the Home Ministry has already constituted an experts’ committee to explore alternative to pellet guns, it is not inclined to prohibit use of pellet guns in rare and extreme situations before the committee files its report “and a decision (is) taken at the government level”.
The Centre has faced severe criticism over the use of the “non-lethal” weapons to quell the unrest that erupted in Kashmir after the killing of Hizbul militant Burhan Wani on July 8.
At least eight people have been killed, and thousands maimed, after being shot by pellet guns here.