Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has urged the security forces to refrain from using pellet guns in Kashmir.
According to CRPF, pellet guns are being used only as a last resort when all other options like gas shells and gas grenades fail and that they do not have an alternative to pump-action guns, or “pellet guns.”
The use of pellet guns, categorised as non-lethal, has drawn criticism from several quarters.
Earlier, Rajnath Singh had admitted in the Lok Sabha that one person had died due to pellets in Kashmir violence.
Following the protests, at least 183 persons, many of them children, have suffered eye injuries and blindness.
According to Singh, these had not been used in Kashmir for the first time as they had been used earlier in 2010 when six people had been killed by these and 98 had sustained eye injuries, with five suffering complete blindness. The high court had also pulled up the government for continuing with relentless curfew and called for an immediate end to the use of pellet guns.
In Kashmir, the home minister also appealed the protesters to not throw stones and rocks at the forces. He said as per the information, 2228 police jawans, 1100 CRPF jawans and 2259 civilians were injured during protests in Kashmir.
He also assured J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti that any injured person who is unable to get proper medical treatment here can be sent to Delhi for treatment.
“The Prime Minister is also worried about the current state of affairs here. We don’t want a need-based relationship with Kashmir, we want an emotional one,” he said when he met several delegations in the valley including the state’s Opposition National Conference.
He also said, “As far as the Centre is concerned, we are clear that we don’t not want a relationship with Kashmir that is based on necessities. We want a relationship that is based on emotional bonds.”
Training guns on Pakistan, he said the country which itself was “a victim of terror”, should not fuel militancy in Kashmir. “Pakistan’s role isn’t pak (pure) in relation to Kashmir. They need to change their behaviour,” he said.
Mr Singh’s remarks come a day after Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj’s sharp rebuke to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for supporting protests against what Islamabad has described at the United Nations and elsewhere as India’s blatant violation of human rights in Kashmir.
The death toll, including both civilians and policemen, in Kashmir Valley has risen to 47 in the turmoil that erupted in the aftermath of Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani, being killed a fortnight ago.