Stone throwing must end in Kashmir, says SC

Supreme Court

New Delhi, April 28: The Supreme Court on Friday said it will ask the government not to use pellet guns in Jammu and Kashmir if there was no violence, no stone throwing and students return to classes.

Asking leaders of the J&K High Court Bar Association to come forward with “positive suggestions” to diffuse the situation, Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said in such a situation they would ask the government not to use pellet guns.

“If you suggest something within the framework of the Constitution, we will assure you there will be a dialogue,” the Chief Justice said as leaders of the Bar Association wanted government to hold talks with Hurriyat leaders – currently under house arrest – without conditions.

Giving time to the Bar Association till May 9 to come up with “positive suggestions”, the court said: “You must first tell us what you will do. Then we will direct the government. If you keep throwing stones, how will it work?”

Justice Kaul told the counsel for the Bar Association that students have to get back to their colleges and universities. “Stop this violence. There is so much of unemployment.”

Taking exception to the affidavit filed by the Bar Association, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said they were even doubting the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India.

He said the Bar Association was accusing the security forces of following a strategy of catch and kill and describing all the elections held till date in the state as rigged.

“They are separatists. What kind of dialogue they want to have? They dispute even the accession of J&K… I don’t know who these people are,” he told the court.

Rohatgi described as “political” as the counsel for the Bar Association referred to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s reported decision of a unilateral ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Don’t have political debate,” the Attorney General told the counsel.

Making it clear that it will not talk to separatists or those demanding ‘azadi’, the Centre said it will only talk to people who are legally permitted to speak on behalf of the people.

The Attorney General moderated his strong stand only after Chief Justice Khehar, sensing the Centre’s apparent discomfort with the role the court has taken upon itself, said: “We will close it at this moment if you say one line ‘We don’t have jurisdiction’.”

Pointing to the road map for the talks, the Attorney General said there must be rule of law in the state, where a separatist campaign raging since 1989 has left thousands dead.


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