Last year, hundreds of Kashmiris were injured by the pellets, many were blinded. After several criticism, the Home Ministry had stepped in and instructed the CRPF to use pellet guns in rarest of the rare cases. An alternate weapon was introduced--less-lethal chilli-filled PAVA shells.
However, it seems, the pellet guns are going to make a comeback in the Valley.
According to reports, Paramilitary forces are of the opinion that the PAVA shells are not really effective in scattering protesters. So, they are re-introducing pellet guns, with a slight modification.
CRPF Director General K Durga Prasad told reporters on Monday that pellet gun will be used to break up any protest before and during anti-militancy operations.
"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," he said.
Prasad also said that his team have now improvised the pellet guns to make the effect less 'painful'.
The improvised weapon will reportedly 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.
A CRPF officer explained how the combination of distance, deflected angle and a metal deflector on the muzzle will ensure that shrapnels do not strike a person above the abdomen region.
"By using a 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," a CRPF officer was quoted as saying.
Earlier this month, Army chief General Bipin Rawat had warned of tough action if security operations were obstructed in Kashmir.
"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.
"They may survive today but we will get them tomorrow. Our relentless operations will continue," the Army Chief had said.
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