Tahlka News Desk
New Delhi: CRPF to tackle violence protest in Kashmir Union Home Minister has not asked it to stop the use of pellet guns and the decision is taken by the men on the ground. Receiving hundreds of protesters with severe eye injuries, the Home ministry had in September last year instructed the CRPF to use pellet guns in rarest of the rare cases.
Based on the recommendations of an expert committee, constituted to suggest an alternative to pellet guns, the ministry had given its nod for the use of less-lethal chilli-filled PAVA shells. The CRPF, however, found PAVA shells of limited use in the valley. Sources said they are effective only in closed urban environs and not in the open and there is always the risk of PAVA shells being hurled back at the force by the crowd.
"The pellet guns are one of the many options that we will use when we operate to control protesters in the coming days. PAVA (packed with chilli) shells have a long shelf life and are good only in certain situations. But we have made it clear that the CRPF men on ground will use whatever the situation demands," CRPF Director General K Durga Prasad, who is retiring on Tuesday said.
Prasad, however, added that the pellet guns are being improvised by adding a deflector to cause less damage to the protestors. The improvised weapon will be fitted with an aluminium shield on the upper side of the muzzle end to give a downward trajectory to the pellets that come out in bursts of 400 from the pump action gun.
The combination of distance and deflected angle will ensure that lesser velocity pellets hit violent protestors only on the lower part of the body and not vulnerable area of abdomen and above, thereby inflicting pain but not lethal injury, a senior CRPF officer explained.
"By using deflector aimed towards feet there is only a two per cent chance that the shot fired may hit above the point of aim as compared to the rate of 40 per cent earlier," said the officer.
Encouraged by the results, the CRPF has placed order to the BSF's Tekanpur unit to refurbish all the pellet guns with deflectors.The CRPF DG explained the prevailing situation in the valley as sensitive but better than the previous year.