April 2017 News

Unabated J&K Violence Irks Supreme Court

10 April 2017
Times of India
Dhananjay Mahapatra |

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday expressed willingness to walk into the volatile situation in Kashmir Valley and make security forces tackle violent protests more humanely if Srinagar-based J&K Bar Association provided unbiased suggestions. 'We feel we can make a difference. But rule of law must prevail on both sides - protesters as well as security forces,' a bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices D Y Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul said. Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi referred to violent protests against by-elections in the state and the firing by security forces that killed eight persons. 'We can understand Burhan Wani killing to be an emotional issue. But why protests against elections? The Election Commission is considering a repoll,' he said. As the counsel for J&K Bar Association made an impassioned plea to the court to direct security forces to immediately stop using pellet guns if it wanted to prevent a sizeable population from turning blind, the bench said, 'Advocates have always been in the forefront to make rule of law prevail in this country. The situation in the state presents a historic opportunity to advocates to play a very important role in bringing back normalcy. But you have to be impartial, sincere and honest in making suggestions to the court.' The bar association said possibility of a solution could be suggested if it was within the realm of the system. 'Possibility of solution does not lie within the administrative system. The problem faced by the people of Kashmir require a political solution and it could only be done by the Union government,' it said. Rohatgi presented a grim picture of the situation and said not a single protest in Kashmir was peaceful, which forced the police and CRPF to use deterrents like pellet guns as the last resort to stop protesters from harming them. 'What is worrying is the participation of students and young generation in the violent protests,' he said. However, he said the security apparatus has devised a new mechanism, which would soon be used by police and CRPF personnel before resorting to pellet guns. 'This device is something akin to rubber bullets but no more details can be given in public. The new weapon has been lab-tested in Chandigarh,' the AG said.