Disrupts proceedings in Jammu & Kashmir Assembly

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members staged a demonstration in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly on Sunday, saying some of the youths against whom the police used pellet guns in the Shopian area had lost their sight.

The PDP legislators said the police used pepper gas also against the youth. They occupied the well of the House, shouting slogans and waving copies of the local daily Greater Kashmir. The protesters, led by Leader of the Opposition Mehbooba Mufti, disrupted the proceedings and walked out in protest.

Ms. Mufti and the party MLAs alleged that government agencies were using pepper gas and pellet guns without inhibition on “peaceful demonstrators.” Referring to a front-page story in the newspaper, they said many youths had been “rendered blind” when their eyes were hit by pellets. The government’s description of pellet guns as “non-lethal weapons” was not true.

Speaker Mubarak Gul said the Minister in charge of the Home Ministry would soon make a detailed statement on behalf of the government.

Earlier this week, the police claimed to have dispersed a “violent crowd” in the Shopian area as thousands of people gathered to claim the bodies of two Hizbul Mujahideen militants killed in an encounter. Deputy Inspector-General of Police, South Kashmir, Vijay Kumar maintained that the mob was dispersed with the use of “tearsmoke” and baton charge.

He said the police did not carry or use any pepper or pellet guns. The “violent crowd” damaged two police vehicles and injured 13 policemen.

In October 2013, a Division Bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, comprising Chief Justice M.M. Kumar and Justice Ali Mohammad Magray, dismissed a bunch of three petitions challenging the use of pepper gas and pellet guns for mob management.

The PIL petitions said the pepper gas and the pellet guns in use in the Valley had claimed lives and left scores injured.

The Bench observed that none of the given facts had been established as true, and recorded that the people named in the petitions had not been harmed by pepper gas or pellet guns.

The separatist groups had said that the order would be challenged in the Supreme Court.