HRLN expresses concern over use of expired teargas against marchers

ITANAGAR, 17 Mar: The Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) has expressed grave concern over the alleged            firing of expired, toxic                 teargas at marchers by the police here last month.

The incident reportedly occurred when the aspirants of the Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission were taking out a peaceful march on 17 February.

“The purpose of the march was to meet with the governor and request for cancellation of the oath-taking ceremony of the new APPSC members and chairman,” the HRLN said.

It said that the rally was stopped by police personnel and paramilitary forces. “The situation escalated quickly, and the police resorted to using teargas and lathi charge, resulting in many injuries,” it said.

The HRLN claimed that “the label on a canister which was found at the place of occurrence after the incident indicates that it was already expired.”

“According to experts,” the HRLN said, “expired teargas can cause permanent blindness, chemical burns, miscarriage, fatal exacerbation of asthma, seizures, and even death if the canister hits the person directly.”

“This is a blatant violation of human rights and a clear indication of the police’s disregard for the safety of the citizens they are supposed to protect,” the HRLN said in a complaint letter to the home secretary.

“It is extremely concerning that the police have shown such gross negligence by using expired teargas, which poses a significant threat to the safety and wellbeing of the students,” it said.

The organisation urged the home secretary to take immediate action to hold those responsible for the “heinous act” accountable.

“The use of expired teargas is not only illegal but also a violation of the fundamental right to life and safety of citizens. It is unacceptable that such an egregious violation of human rights could occur in a modern society that upholds the rule of law,” it said.

The organisation demanded that a full investigation be conducted into the matter, and that those found responsible be held accountable for their actions.

It also urged the home secretary take measures to ensure that that such incidents do not recur.

The HRLN added that copies of the complaint letter have been sent to the NHRC and the home affairs ministry.