A question of ethics, not nationalism: author’s response

Siddarth David

Published online: January 27, 2017

DOI: https://doi.org/10.20529/IJME.2017.031

The aim of the comment “Use of pellet guns for crowd control in Kashmir: How lethal is ‘non-lethal’?” (1) was neither to disparage the armed forces, nor recommend counterinsurgency strategies, nor support any particular community or group. It sought to raise discussions around the question pointed out by the responder (2) himself, namely, “the ethical point of view” on the use of pellet guns in controlling violent mobs. The author also feels that the question is not so much about “favouring” the protestors or the security forces, but whether an instrument that causes significant fatalities and morbidities among bystanders should continue to be used as a method of crowd control.

Additionally, the author accepts that the conflict in Kashmir involves complex political dimensions, tragic human costs on all sides, and multiple ethical issues that need to be addressed; but concedes that this is a subject too vast to be addressed in a 1200-word commentary. The use of pellet guns would surely be one of several ethical aspects of this conflict and no one ethical consideration takes precedence over the other.

While the author is not a spokesperson for Amnesty International, human-rights groups have condemned violence perpetrated by any group. Raising questions on judgments by the judiciary is a part of democracy, and the author feels that he, as an Indian, is entitled to do it.

Finally, the author believes that ethical questions can be raised by any person be it a protestor, security personnel, academician, scientist, farmer and even a doctor, as ethics deals with principles of right and wrong. Hence, the author (whose grandfather was a decorated lieutenant commander in the Indian Navy) feels that having or not having a family member in the armed forces is not a test, or a conflict of interest, while talking about ethical issues. And it is surely not a badge of nationalism.


  1. David S. Use of pellet guns for crowd control in Kashmir: How lethal is “non-lethal”? Indian J Med Ethics. Published online on December 20, 2016. Available from: http://ijme.in/articles/use-of-pellet-guns-for-crowd-control-in-kashmir-how-lethal-is-non-lethal/?galley=html
  2. Ghooi RB. Should a medical ethics journal discuss actions of the security forces? Indian J Med Ethics. Published online on January 27, 2017. Available from: http://ijme.in/articles/should-a-medical-ethics-journal-discuss-the-actions-of-the-security-forces/?galley=html
About the Authors

Siddarth David ([email protected])

Senior Research Officer

Environmental Health Resource Hub, School of Habitat Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Deonar, Mumbai, MH, 400 088, India




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