A committee set up to find alternatives to pellet guns submitted its report to the Home Ministry on Monday. Stating that pellet guns should be used as a last resort, the committee is learnt to have suggested other non-lethal weapons for crowd control.
“We have not barred use of pellet guns. But we have tried to give the forces several alternatives before they are forced to use pellet guns. These alternatives, we believe, will be as effective as pellet guns and reduce their use,” a committee member told The Indian Express.
The alternatives suggested are non-lethal weapons which temporarily incapacitate people and are not likely to cause severe injuries.
* Synthetic oleoresin capsicum grenades or shells are also called PAVA shells. PAVA stands for pelargonic acid vanillylamide and is more potent than natural oleoresin capsicum gas which is extracted from processed capsicum. It causes severe irritation and watering of eyes apart from a burning sensation on the skin. Its exposure to water causes greater irritation.
* The committee has also suggested tweaking of tear gas shells and the gas to make it more effective. At present, the forces are faced with a situation where protesters pick up tear gas shells and throw these back at them. To overcome this, shells are being made of plastic so that they melt on being fired and cannot be picked up.
* Marker grenades emit irritating gas apart from carrying a permanent paint that help identify protesters later.
* Stun grenades emit strong light, incapacitating crowds for some time.
Most of these have been tested by the CRPF, but have rarely been used in the field.
The seven-member expert committee, under the chairmanship of T V S N Prasad, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, was formed after use of pellet guns left many injured in the Valley during the protests over killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
The committee has also laid down SOPs for crowd control, where the forces first need to make announcement of the unlawful assembly, use persuasion to disperse the crowd, resort to lathicharge, and only then open fire with non-lethal weapons.
The non-lethal alternatives have been chosen with immediate use in mind. “That’s why only such ammunition has been suggested which can fired from existing weapons,” said another committee member.
The first lot will be available to the CRPF within this week, said home ministry sources.
Nodal officer for Valley youth
New Delhi: A joint secretary-rank officer was Monday appointed as a nodal officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs to address the grievances of Kashmiri youth who are facing problems in different parts of the country.
Joint Secretary (Kashmir) will co-ordinate with various state governments for early disposal of such complaints and will have four dedicated telephone lines. ENS