Stop use of pellet guns, empathize with Kashmiri youth: KTS Tulsi

New Delhi, Aug. 25 : With Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh hinting that an alternative to the use of pellet guns in the Valley may be announced soon, senior advocate KTS Tulsi while citing the examples of various other countries emphasized on the use of rubber bullets by the security forces.

"In Dallas, they use rubber bullets and that too non-lethal. The same rubber bullets are being used by the Israelis on Palestinian crowds to stop them from coming.

They don't use pellet bullets which are coated or not coated with rubber. Apart from that Canada uses rubber bullets. Egypt uses rubber bullets, South Africa uses rubber bullets. Kazakhstani, Argentina, Ukraine, Russia all of them are using rubber bullets for crowd control. Why are we using lethal weapons? That should be stopped immediately," Tulsi told ANI. "Instead of saying that we will curtail the use, it should be stopped. Rubber bullets can be brought overnight and they can also be fired from same gun... They can even import the gun. But human lives are far more important," he added. The senior advocate emphasized that there is a need to win over the youth of Kashmir and empathize with them if they are disillusioned primarily because of the use of pellet guns.

"Can you imagine a curfew for so long? The entire population is suffering on account of this indefinite curfew.

So, let's not underestimate the situation. I think that the government must replace these pellet guns with rubber bullet guns," he added. The senior advocate welcomed the Home Minister's statement that the government was willing to talk to anyone within the scope of 'Kashmiriyat, Jamooriyat and Insaniyat' but appeared not to be in tune with Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti's assertion that there are only five percent of people, who are disturbing peace and instigating violence in the valley.

"It is a mass movement and saying that only five percent people are involved is an understatement," said Tulsi.

Addressing a joint press conference with the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister in Srinagar earlier this afternoon, the Home Minister revealed that the Centre is considering employing some options and an alternative for pellet gun may be announced in a few days.

Replying to a poser on the use of pellet guns by the security forces, he said that the expert committee would submit the report within a few days and an alternative will come up soon.

Stating that majority of people in the valley want peace, Singh appealed to the disgruntled people of Kashmir not to play with the future of the youth of the state and said that dialogue within the framework of the constitution is the only way to find a solution.

When asked whether the government would talk to the separatist Hurriyat leaders, Singh said: "We are willing to talk to anyone within the scope of Kashmiriyat, Jamooriyat and Insaniyat." He also said that an all-party delegation would visit Kashmir, where thousands have been injured in clashes after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8.

Mehbooba on her part said that 95 percent are innocent and they want to live in peace but are suffering due to a section of selfish elements.

She said that miscreants are using children as a shield to attack the security forces camps which has resulted in situation turning precarious in the valley.

Disagreeing that the situation in Kashmir was similar to that in 2010, the Chief Minister said the current agitation is being instigated by a few while majority want peace to return to valley.

The Home Minister is presently on a two-day visit to Kashmir to review the security situation and interact with civil society groups, political parties and other stakeholders as part of the efforts by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has called for dialogue within the ambit of the Constitution.

Source: ANI