50 European Parliamentarians write to PM Modi, demand repeal of AFSPA, pellet gun use in Kashmir

Fifty members of the European Parliament have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding an end to use of pellet guns for crowd control and the repeal of laws like AFSPA and PSA in Jammu and Kashmir.

“We, the undersigned, in our capacity as elected Members of the European Parliament, are writing to you to express our grave concern about the past and ongoing human rights violations against people in Kashmir, as reported in a recent OHCHR1 report,” the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) said in a joint letter, dated 25 March, to the Prime Minister.

The members cited the case of a 19-month-old pellet victim from Shopian district, Hiba Nisar, who was injured in November last year.

“We particularly note the tragic case of 19-month old child who was gravely injured by a pellet gun (BBC report). We are concerned that the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act 1990 (AFSPA) and the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act 1978 (PSA) give security forces virtual immunity against prosecution for any human rights violation,” the letter read.

The members demanded the use of pellet guns be stopped immediately, further asking the government to bring all relevant Indian laws into compliance with international human rights standards.

The European Parliamentarians said the government should “provide full and effective reparation and rehabilitation to those who have been injured by pellet-firing shotguns, and to the families of those killed.”

They asked the government to establish independent and impartial investigations into all “accidents where the use of pellet-firing shotguns led to deaths or serious injuries.