With the killing of Burhan Wani, Hizbul militant, by Indian forces last year, protest broke out against this action. CRPF personnel used pellet guns for crowd dispersion which resulted in more than 69 deaths, with approximately 600 people being blinded.
Global pressure made India move away from using pellet gun in Kashmir
However, pellet gun was replaced with chilli-based PAVA (Pelargonic Acid Vanillylamide) shells after a global protest against the use of pellet guns. Because these less-lethal shells proved ineffective in dispersing the stone pelting crowd, CRPF requested BSF workshop for the deployment of deflector muzzle pellet guns.
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K. Durga Prasad, Director General of Central Reserve Police Force (CPRF), said, “The force has taken the decision to modify pellet guns, with the help of BSF (Border Security Force), to minimize injuries.”
Back to new version of pellet guns in Kashmir
Mr. Prasad said earlier this week that the new pellet guns are equipped with a ‘deflector’. The purpose of this deflector is to stop the bullet from ascending and with this muzzle the shrapnel will not hit a target above abdominal region.
A CPRF officer said, “We have asked our men to fire at the feet now… By using a deflector, there is only a two percent chance that the shot fired may hit above the point of aim as compared to the rate of 40 percent earlier.”
K. Durga Prasad also said, “PAVA shells have a long shelf-life and they are good in certain situations… But we have made it clear that the CRPF man on the ground will use whatever the situation demands.”
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Further he said, “The situation is not as sensitive as it was last year… The intensity with which it happened is no longer there… The situation of stone-pelting on security forces is not as bad as earlier.”
The number of guns CRPF currently has, is 640. But in January, The Ministry of Home Affairs made fresh authorization of 4,949 pellet guns for CRPF units deployed in Kashmir Valley.