Pellet guns: Expert team formed to explore alternatives

New Delhi: An expert team, headed by a Joint Secretary in the Union Home Ministry, was today constituted to explore possible alternatives to pellet guns, amidst strong criticism against their frequent use in Jammu and Kashmir for crowd control.

Besides Home Ministry Joint Secretary T V S N Prasad, who will head the team, other members of the expert committee are Atul Karwal, IG, CRPF, Srinagar, Rajeev Krishna, IG, BSF, Rajesh Kumar of J&K Police, Tushar Tripathy of Indian Ordnance Factory Board, Manjit Singh of Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory, Chandigarh and Naresh Bhatnagar of IIT, Delhi.
Many youths have been injured in the last fortnight when CRPF personnel used pellet guns to control violent protesters in the wake of killing of Burhan Wani, a top militant of Hizbul Mujahideen.

The paramilitary force has received widespread criticism for the use of this category of non-lethal weapon, prompting Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to announce in Parliament that a committee will be set up to review use of pellet guns and find an alternative to it.

A Home Ministry spokesperson said the expert committee will submit its report within two months.

The Home Minister had said one person died due to injuries caused by pellet guns while 53 suffered injuries in eyes.

The Central government had also sent a team of doctors to Kashmir Valley to treat youths injured due to firing by pellet guns.

Director General of Central Reserve Police Force K Durga Prasd yesterday expressed regret for injuries caused to youths due to firing of pellet guns in the Kashmir Valley and said it would continue to use this “least-lethal” weapon but only in “extreme” situations.

“Everybody feel bad when youngsters get hit. But still, we will have to use it (pellet guns) in extreme situation as of now. We hope that any (extreme) situation does not arise (in future),” the CRPF chief said, ahead of the force’s 77th raising day on Wednesday.

Prasad said the CRPF is already experimenting with the other options under the less-lethal weapon category available globally.