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CRPF to use modified pellet guns in Kashmir

LiveMint logoLiveMint 27-02-2017 Shaswati Das

A modified version of the pellet guns that have been blamed for seriously injuring protesters will be deployed in Kashmir soon. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) said it will use the modified guns that are less lethal but equally effective.

The guns, which are being modified by the Border Security Force (BSF), will soon be provided to the CRPF.

In the days following militant Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani’s killing in Kashmir in July, the CRPF drew criticism for the indiscriminate use of pellet guns on protesters, which injured hundreds. A typical pellet gun has a single rubber pellet which, when aimed near a person’s foot, hits the ground and splits into three pieces that rise close to the face of a protester. The modified version will lower the height to which the pellets rise.

“The modified pellet guns will have a deflector because of which the possibility of pellets hitting protesters 40% above the point of aim will be brought down, keeping the margin of error to 2%. Several protesters had earlier been hit on the upper parts of their bodies, but the deflectors will ensure that the pellets only hit the lower part of the protester’s body. It is still in the testing stage,” K. Durga Prasad, director general of CRPF, said in Delhi Monday.

After an uproar by human rights activists over the injuries to civilians in the valley because of pellet guns, the home ministry had, in August, formed an expert committee that suggested introducing chilli-based PAVA ( pelargonic acid vanillylamide) shells that are less lethal than pellet guns.

However, the CRPF has now struck down that alternative.

“Using PAVA shells as a substitute to pellet guns in Kashmir, is not a solution and we need something else as well,” Durga Prasad said. “Local support towards mob violence... needs to be effectively tackled.”

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