Govt’s blind spot

Terming the pellet guns as "the last resort to control violent mobs," J&K Government has ruled out ban on use of the weapon in the state. Replying to a Cut-Motion of National Conference legislator Shameema Firdous on banning the use of pellet guns, the government said  the weapon was being  used in the situations "where all other means of dispersing furious mobs become ineffective."  This  should be a cause of serious disappointment for the people in Kashmir where the weapon has wrought havoc in the course of its indiscriminate use to quell the five month long uprising last year. According to an estimate, fourteen people lost their lives and several hundred got blinded and many more maimed when hit by the pellets. Among them the fourteen year old Insha, who was hit in her both eyes when looking out the window of her house in Anantnag.  Though central government had also formed a committee to review the use of the pellet guns, it ended up rationalizing their use. Besides, adding one more  weapon, the PAVA shells, to the riot control gear. However, given what the pellet gun has done, the state government was expected to be the most sensitive to the situation and take steps to stop its use.  But the government has no  proposal to ban the weapon. On the contrary, it has justified its use in extreme situations of unrest. But as  the hundreds of partial and complete blindings would reveal, the pellet guns have been used indiscriminately and even in the course of the regular protests.  In opposition PDP  had forcefully opposed the use of pellet guns and promised to check their use once in power. But now in power it is time for the party to  fulfil   one of its  most widely remembered promises. Banning of pellet guns would  be a welcome gesture and would certainly help regain the party some of the lost confidence among people. 

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