Now, deflector-fitted pellet guns to minimise injuries

Srinagar: Amid growing concerns among the security establishment of a hot summer ahead, the controversial pellet guns in Kashmir are being fitted with deflectors to avoid casualties and injuries to vital organs, especially eyes.The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Jammu and Kashmir Police faced huge criticism during last year’s unrest over the use of pellet guns, which resulted in eye injuries to over 1,100 youths, with many losing their sight. There was a demand for a blanket ban on the guns as even deaths were reported due to the pellets during the five-month unrest following the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani. Inspector General, CRPF, Ravideep Singh Sahi said the force had begun installing deflectors on pellet guns and the technology would ensure that vital organs were not hit during any law and order problem. “We have been always ensuring that vital organs are not targeted… These deflectors will further ensure that only the lower part of the body is hit,” Sahi told The Tribune. In Kashmir, 47 CRPF battalions are deployed and are involved in both anti-militancy operations and restoring law and order. In central Kashmir districts alone, which include Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal, 23 battalions are deployed, which possess around 400 pellet guns. This means around 700-800 pellets guns have to be fitted with deflectors. After the injuries during the 2016 unrest, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had set up a committee to review the use of pellet guns. The panel had advised that these be used only in pressing circumstances. The forces had even experimented with Pawa (chilli-filled) guns, but these were not found effective for controlling the crowd. 

Tribune News Service