Six persons suffered eye injuries, with two of them losing sight in one eye each, due to the use of pellet guns during law and order problems in Jammu and Kashmir since 2008, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Thursday.
No person was killed or rendered blind on account of use of pellet guns in law and order disturbances during the period from 2008 to 2014, said Mehbooba, who holds Home Department portfolio, in a written reply in the Assembly.
"However, during the year 2015, due to pellet gun firing, six persons sustained injuries in their eyes, out of which, one person has lost sight in his right eye and one person in his left eye," she said.
Responding to a question of CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami, Mehbooba said no ex-gratia has been paid to the persons affected by pellet injury during 2015 because rules do not prescribe that.
As per the existing rules, ex-gratia is admissible in respect of various categories including persons who are killed or permanently or partially disabled as a result of violence attributable to the breach of law and order or any other form of civil commotion, she said.
The Chief Minister said ex-gratia shall be available in respect of person(s) who were not directly or indirectly involved in actual violence or instigation thereof or were "killed innocently."
Pellet gun is used in exceptional cases when all other methods to handle the law and order situation and control the unruly mobs fail, she said.
A pellet is a non-spherical projectile designed to be fired from an air gun. Air gun pellets differ from bullets and shot used in firearms because of the pressures encountered.
Pellet guns are used as per the SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures), Mehbooba said while admitting that Amnesty International had in June last year recommended adherence to international agencies including the UN Code of conduct for law enforcement officials and the UN basic principle on the use of force and fire arms by law enforcement officials.
Further, security forces and police personnel are regularly briefed about strict adherence to SOPs while dealing with law and order situations, she said adding they have also been directed to use non-lethal weapons while handling law and order situation to avoid any collateral damage.