Police should use pellet guns with restraint: Mehbooba Mufti
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti asked security forces to restrain themselves from using pellet guns and differentiate between stone-pelters and their families, while noting that force was used to deal with law and order in the Valley during the recent unrest.
“When we have to deal with such situation, we have to use force sometimes and I have no hesitation in saying this. We should all speak truth. We had to use force because we had to protect the lives and properties of all the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” she said.
The Chief Minister was speaking at the passing-out parade of Jammu and Kashmir Police at Commando Training Centre in Lethpora in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Mufti said if force was not used, losses would have been more.
“If we had not done so, there could have been more killings, more losses. But now, our endeavour should be to see towards those people who were confined to their homes because of the situation, strikes and curfew and what they have gone through in these six months,” she said.
The Chief Minister said now that the situation has improved and the time has come to “change our ways”.
“But now I think that when the situation has improved, the time has come to heal the wounds of the people. Now, we have to change our ways. We have to differentiate between the situation as of today and what was four months back. We will have to give special focus to the youth,” she said.
She said security forces have to differentiate between offenders like terrorists and stone-pelters and their families.
“We cannot weigh every youth by the same scale, we cannot see every youth with suspicious eyes, then the situation will not improve. We have to differentiate between militants and their families. We have to differentiate militants from their parents, siblings and children and we cannot weigh them by the same scale.”
“If any youth is a habitual stone-pelters, we will have to differentiate between him and his family. You have to differentiate between an elder person involved in such activities and a student and see how to tackle them,” she said. Mufti asked the security forces to exercise restrain while dealing with law and order situations.
“I hope that you will not deject me because I want J-K to prosper again, where guns or pellet guns are not used. I hope that police and security forces try to not use pellet guns. If there is an attack on your camp or police station, then I understand, but if someone throws stones at you, you should try to restrain yourselves till we find an alternative to pellet guns and ban them completely,” she said.
As many as 86 people, including two policemen, have been killed and several thousand others injured in the ongoing unrest in the Valley that began on July 9, a day after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces.
Around 5000 security forces personnel have also been injured in the clashes.