Hope Rajnath’s visit to Kashmir Valley addresses the use of pellet guns, says Azad

New Delhi, July 23 : Questioning Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh's two-day visit to Kashmir, which came after 16 days of unrest in the valley, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Saturday expressed hope that the former will take a call on the use of pellet guns on protestors. Azad, who was heading towards to Uttar Pradesh to formally launch the Congress party's election campaign with the slogan "27 saal, UP behaal (27 year but UP in dire straits), criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not attending the house when the discussions on the Kashmir unrest took place. "The Prime Minister didn't even bother to attend the debates in both the upper and lower houses," Azad said. "Now, after 16 days, the Union Home Minsiter has gone to Kashmir. I am quite confident that he will make an announcement that the pellet guns will no longer be used, because in Kashmir, hundreds of people, including children have lost their vision due to this," he added. The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minster also said he was hopeful that Singh will initiate confidence-building measures between people of the Kashmir valley and the government. "I hope that he takes the people of Kashmir into confidence, so that the people in the valley can trust the government once again," he added. According to reports, Singh will take stock of the law and order situation in the Valley during his visit and will be accompanied by the Directors General (DGs) of paramilitary, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). Official sources said that Singh will also preside over a high level security meeting in Srinagar, have a one-on-one interaction with state Governor Narinder Nath Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. He is scheduled to fly back to Delhi on Sunday afternoon. At least 45 people have died and over 2000 have been injured in over two weeks of clashes between demonstrators and security forces amid protests over the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani earlier this month. The centre has already sent over 3,000 paramilitary troops to the state to assist the state government restore peace in the trouble-torn valley. Singh told lawmakers on Friday that the government would soon set up a panel to look for an alternative to the pellet gun in response to questions about responses to a recent surge of violence in the Kashmir region. "We will form an expert committee on this that will give its report in two months so that such incidents are not repeated in future," he told members of the LOk Sabha.