Use of pepper gas hazardous: SHRC

‘For Sin Of Few, Thousands Can’t Be Punished’


Srinagar, Dec 8: The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) Thursday asked the state government to refrain from using excessive pepper gas (pepper grenades) for crowd dispersal, saying other methods of controlling law and order need to be explored.
Taking cognizance of a complaint filed by a local human rights activist, Muhammad Ahsan Untoo, through his counsels Bilal Ahmad and Hamid Shafi, the rights body asked Jammu and Kashmir government to desist from using excessive pepper gas, which puts the life of civilians who are not part of protest demonstrations in danger.
“For a sin of dozens of youngsters thousands peace loving people can’t be punished and their rights enshrined in the Constitution be not violated in any circumstance or in any manner. Life is precious and right to life is a fundamental right. In case doctors’ opinion and expert opinion is taken into consideration without any rebuttal, it is definitely a serious rights violation. Authorities are impressed to restrain to use excessive pepper gas on human beings. Other methods are available with the law and order authorities to maintain peace in the area. Those methods are needed to be explored,” Commission member Rafiq Fida said in his decision.
The Commission added that the methods used for dispersing  protest demonstrations shouldn’t put the health of people, who are not part of mob, in danger.
“It is not a new thing that misguided young boys are motivated to create law and order problem on every Friday. We have been observing it for last five decades now. A group of dozens of boys involving in stone pelting could be dealt in a manner which would not endanger health of old, infant and pregnant women,” it said.
Untoo had approached SHRC on December 2, asking it to direct authorities to refrain  from using pepper gas in future and end spree of  what he termed illegal arrests of the minors. He also moved an application for interim relief in pepper gas usage citing that its spray has harmful impact on the health and can even cause death.
In the application, the complainants had claimed that use of pepper gas in old city by police and CRPF had harmful impact on new born babies and old aged persons, besides  it also amplifies allergic sensitivities, irritates eyes and damages several other parts of the body.
After last year’s unrest, Jammu and Kashmir Police is using pepper grenades made up of one of the hottest chillies of the world for crowd dispersal in Valley.
Regarding the allegations of torture of minor detainees in police station Mahraj Gunj, the Commission said words of Prime Minister and Chief Minister about zero tolerance on HR violations needs to be carried in letter and spirit.
“For restoration of complete peace maximum restrain in use of force is needed to be taken, it is borne in mind that sentiments of boys are high while (methods of) dealing with the protesters are being exploited,” the SHRC observed.
While listing the case for hearing on Dec 16, the Commission sought a detailed report from Jammu and Kashmir government on both matters.
“Let notice go to Commissioner Secretary Home, DGP J&K, Inspector General of Police Kashmir zone, SSP Srinagar, SP North, SDPO North and SHO police station MR Gunj for their response in the matter. SHO MR Gunj is directed to furnish details of boys arrested, their age and status of their confinement within one week,” the SHRC said.

Lastupdate on : Thu, 8 Dec 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 8 Dec 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 9 Dec 2011 00:00:00 IST

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