Terming the use of pellet guns as a "last resort to control violent mobs", the Jammu and Kashmir government on Saturday said there is no proposal to ban use of the weapon in the state.
In a reply to Cut-Motion of National Conference legislator Shameema Firdous on banning use of pellet guns, the government said: "The pump action gun or pellet gun is being used in the situations where all other means of dispersing furious mobs get ineffective."
"This is the last need-based requirement to handle uncontrolled situations. The men and officers dealing with the law and order are regularly sensitized about the use of this weapon as per the laid down SOP," the reply reads.
It states that during the recent "law and order situation", the Police and CAPFs "as a first resort used less lethal ways for bringing law and order situations under control."
'The pump action (pellet) gun was used as a last resort while facing rampaging mobs and in consonance with the laid down SOP," the reply mentions.
Hundreds of youth with pellet injuries were admitted in hospitals across Kashmir during the six-month-long uprising in Kashmir last year. Most of them had suffered grave pellet injuries near their eyes and some of them lost their eyesight completely.
"The usage of this weapon had come to be challenged before the High Court at Srinagar in bunch of writ petitions filed vide order No. OWP (PIL) No. 01/2013, PIL No. 04/2013, wherein the petitioners had averred that the said weapon is lethal and ban upon usage of such weapons was sought," the reply adds. "After hearing the parties, the writ petitions came to be dismissed by the High Court vide order dated 31.10.2013. Aggrieved by the dismissal of their petitions, they filed a review petition, which is sub-judice."
"But so far no orders against the use of the gun have been issued by the High Court," the government adds.
"In the wake of turmoil of 2016 summer, the MHA constituted a committee to explore availability of less lethal riot control equipment. The committee after thorough deliberation and practical demonstration has submitted its recommendation under which some equipment has been referred to specialized labs for conduction of ballistic and other required tests."
"Out of the demonstrated alternatives, PAVA shells have been received by the JK police and are being used."