After a 12-year-old orphan boy lost his hand while playing with a littered tear gas shell in downtown Srinagar last week, Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra has sought a detailed report from police chief K. Rajendra Kumar.
Reports said that Raj Bhawan has told the police to sanitise all areas after controlling crowds by lobbing tear gas shells and other such ammunition. “Police has been told that they should sanitise congested areas and clear them of unexploded tear gas shells,” a state Home department official told this newspaper.
Police and witnesses said that Mohammad Iqbal, a 12-year-old orphan student, had come to the Nowhatta locality of Srinagar to attend school, but found it closed as there had been protests against pellet injuries done to some shopkeepers during Friday protests. Iqbal found an unexploded tear gas shell and carried it home at Khan Mohalla Rainawari. When he started fiddling with it, it exploded in his hand causing serious injuries. He was shifted to the Bone and Joint Hospital Barzulla, Srinagar, where doctors amputated his hand, wrist downwards.
“We amputated his right hand as he was seriously injured,” a doctor at Barzulla said. Iqbal’s relatives said he had lost his father Ghulam Rasool in 2012. The family is now finding it difficult to even to bear his hospital expenses.
Soon after getting the news of Iqbal’s amputation, the Raj Bhawan asked the police chief to fix responsibility and submit a detailed report about the incident.
Sources told this newspaper that the Governor has been monitoring all reports about the “use of force” by police and security forces and has asked them to exercise maximum restraint.
Recently, the Governor had directed the police to suspend the Station House Officer (SHO) of Saroor, Sambha in Jammu for allegedly opening fire on Gujjars during a demolition drive, resulting in the death of one person.
Iqbal’s case has intensified the campaign by human rights groups against the frequent use of pellet guns by the police.