As protests regain strength, pellet guns make a comeback in Valley

Posted March 01, 2017

The traditional pellet guns have left several protesters in Jammu and Kashmir with severe eye injuries.

PDP vice-president Sartaj Madni told The Indian Express that he was not aware of the plans to use pellet guns in the Valley.

The modified version of the pellet gun will have a "deflector", an attachment on the muzzle to prevent pellets from ascending.

Mr. Prasad said the CRPF had modified the pellet guns with a "deflector" to minimise any physical harm to the protesters in the Valley.

The CRPF has asked a special BSF workshop to modify the guns. Apparently, the alternative of pellet guns PAVA (pelargonic acid vanillylamide) shells have not been quite effective in managing protests and separating the crowd.

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. "In last year's turmoil it has been proved that these pellet guns are fatal", he said, adding that it is time for all parties to unanimously take a stand against their use.

"The pellet guns are one of the many options that we will use to control protesters in the coming days".

The outgoing Director General further added,"PAVA shells have a long shelf-life and they are good in certain situations..."

The sustained argument over specific weaponry, and issuing "threats" to people allegedly impeding counter-insurgency operations by throwing stones at the security forces, only underscores the bankruptcy of the prevailing policy that lays stress on a "military solution". "But we have made it clear that the CRPF man on the ground will use whatever the situation demands". "By using deflector 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", CRPF officer said.

"We would now request the local population that people who have picked up arms, and they are the local boys, if they want to continue with the acts of terrorism, displaying flags of ISIS and Pakistan, then we will treat them as anti-national elements and go helter-skelter for them".

Army chief Gen. Bipin Rawat had said earlier this month that any obstruction to anti-terror operations will be dealt with severely.