Azad seeks end to use of pellet guns
Senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday demanded end to use of pellet guns in Kashmir.
Addressing a press conference in the Parliament House, he said he is "very sad over the use of pellet guns, especially the injuries to young boys due to its use."
Speaking on the Floor of the House in Rajya Sabha on a discussion on Kashmir unrest, where Home Minister Rajnath Singh was also present, Azad said: "I had made six specific demands to the Home Minister, but he chose to reply none."
"In no civilized country the use of pellet guns is any more valid. The first thing the Home Minister should do is tell the State Government, the security and para-military forces, particularly CRPF, to not use pellet guns in future," he demanded.
"When Home Minister went to Kashmir finally and I was in Uttar Pradesh, I had given a statement requesting the Home Minister that since he is meeting the J&K Chief Minister, senior officers of state and paramilitary forces there, he should make sure that the use of pellet guns should be completely banned," Azad said.
He said "dozens of boys have lost their eyesight and under these circumstances, how the Government can blind its own people particularly the youth."
"Are you going to win the confidence of the people or going to make them permanent enemies," he asked the government.
Azad said the first thing Rajnath should have done is "tried to win hearts of people." "The second thing he should have done and made sure is take confidence building measures immediately," he said.
In response to Home Minister's remarks that this is not the first time pellet guns are used, Azad said: "The difference on earlier occasions and today is that the number of casulaities and number of injured persons—both civilian and security forces—has crossed 5000 and never before so many people have lost their lives or are injured in just two weeks and also never before so many boys and girls lost their eyesight."
Azad appealed to all sections of the society particularly political parties and media "to try their best to create a congenial atmosphere in the state and avoid to adding fuel to the fire." "In this abnormal situation in the valley as a result of which all sections of the society are facing lot of hardships including shortage of essential commodities, all of us should be concerned about the type of problems and hardships the people in general and poor in particular must be facing on account of continuous curfew for more than two weeks," he said.
Expressing sadness over the statement of CRPF chief that the force has no option but to use pellet guns in Kashmir, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad today said it will further alienate the people of the state, especially youth.
Azad also said the DG, CRPF's statement, coming immediately after the return of Home Minister Rajnath Singh from Kashmir, indicated it had the consent of the government.
"I am very sad and I was very disturbed after reading the statement of CRPF, DG…That is something unacceptable. I am sorry that the type of decision the Government of India has taken, this will further alienate the people of Jammu and Kashmir and particularly the youth because mostly the youth have been subjected to this kind of treatment as they have been on the forefront (of protests)," he said.
"That means that the direction from the Central government was clear, otherwise he could have not given the statement. That means he has sought the permission of the Home Ministry for use of pellet guns," Azad, leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, alleged.