New Delhi, July 25: With Union government setting up a panel to look for an alternative to the pellet gun in Kashmir, the CRPF is also looking at the use of Condor guns used by UN peacekeeping forces.
Indian Express has quoted a senior CRPF officer who has said,
“CRPF is looking at the use of Condor guns used by UN peacekeeping forces. The guns fire spherical rubber pellets which cause painful bruises. Other non-lethal weapons are also under consideration. The MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) committee formed to assess use of non-lethal weapons will also look at these alternatives.”
The demand for banning the use of pellet guns in the backdrop of use of pellet injuries in Valley protests have forced the MHA to consider the alternative options seriously.
In the fortnight since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have fired as many as 2,102 pellet cartridges in the Valley to disperse protesters.
Other non-lethal weapons used by CRPF in the Valley include plastic pellet guns, rubber bullets, stun grenades, multi-button shells, blank rounds, pepper balls and capsicum grenades. All have been used in the recent protests.
Pellet guns, CRPF sources in the report has said, continue to remain the most effective weapon against stone-pelters.
“The personnel maintain pellet guns are a wall between injury and certain death for protesters. As many as 1,099 CRPF men have been injured in stone-pelting incidents in the last fortnight,” it said.
CRPF Director General K Durga Prasad, while expressing concern over civilian injuries, said: “They are the last resort for us. Only after all non-lethal options are exhausted, pellet guns are used. But we are pained to see the blinding and injuries to young people. We are looking at how we can minimise the damage,” he was quoted as saying in the report.
There is a peculiar problem with tear smoke shells. “If the wind is not favourable, it will blow away from the crowd without much impact. Protesters also have become smart over the years. They throw back the shells towards us, forcing us to retreat,” a CRPF officer has said.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for use of non-lethal weapons and training of men who fire them has been a cause of concern. CRPF officers in the report maintain that the SOP prepared by Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) has no mention of pellet guns.