The alternative to pellet guns to deal with protesting mobs in Kashmir would be introduced in a few days, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said today. Addressing a press conference, Singh assured that security forces would soon be provided with an alternative for use in place of the pellet guns. Pellet guns were first introduced in Kashmir in 2010 for crowd control as a “non-lethal” alternative to other weapons. However, they claimed a number of lives and blinded hundreds of people during the ongoing unrest in the Valley when protesters clashed with security forces.
In an emotional appeal, the Home Minister asked people of the state and all other stakeholders to make efforts to bring peace to the region. When asked as to why Border Security Force (BSF) has been deployed in the Valley, Singh said that deployment of forces is a routine matter and “this is not the time for creating a dispute.” He said that the Centre is making a number of efforts to win the confidence of Kashmiri youths. As a part of this, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs plans to appoint a Nodal Officer who can be contacted for help by Kashmiri youths in distress at any place across the country.
The Home Minister further said that the Union government is committed to take an All Party Delegation to Kashmir and it has asked the state’s CM Mehbooba Mufti to make arrangements for it. “I have told the CM (Mufti) that we want to bring an All Party Delegation to Kashmir and proper arrangements should be made in this regard,” Singh said.
Addressing reporters along with Singh, Mufti lashed out at a few people who want to keep the state on the boil. More than 95% people of Jammu and Kashmir are interested in bringing normalcy to the state through dialogue and only 5% people are behind the unrest in the Valley, Mufti said. She added that the 5% people are trying to “highjack” the state and they are misleading youths to continue the unrest. “Some people have thrown the children of the state into ‘bhatti’ (fire), for their evil intentions,” she said.