A doctors’ body in Jammu and Kashmir Saturday flayed the government over the use of expired ‘tear smoke shells’ during protests in state’s summer capital Srinagar.
President Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement said: it is shocking that police on Wednesday used expired tear gas shells on protesters at Umarabad who were demonstrating against the reckless driving by army vehicle which killed seven civilians.
“Use of expired tear gas canisters is inhumane and a crime against humanity. The manufacturing label of a canister recovered from the site of the protest showed that it had expired in 2012,” he claimed.
Seven commuters had been killed when an Indian army truck had rammed into a cab in the area on Wednesday. Locals had protested over the alleged rash driving by the army and police had used tear smoke shells to quell the protests.
Experts say tear gas turns toxic on expiry and has dangerous health effects. The tear gas can cause permanent blindness, chemical burns, miscarriages, fatal exacerbation of Asthmatics, Seizures and even death if canisters hit the person directly. “The long term health related complications of expired tear gas shells need to be seen,” he said.
Outdated pyrotechnic items which include tear gas, are considered hazardous waste as per “The Resources Conservation and Recovery Act” of 1976 and disposal of these items must be done in accordance with “Environmental Protection Agency” waste management regulations.
“All commercial gas munitions which include tear gas, after expiry date are no longer guaranteed to function as designated,” he said.
“Using outdated munitions are prohibited under law and open a liability on the operator,” the doctor said.
Use of Tear gas in war is prohibited under “Chemical Weapons Convention.”
The DAK asked High Court to take suo motu cognizance of ‘this grave matter’ as expired tear gas is toxic and endangers human life.