Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday gave his approval to form a seven-member committee of experts to look into possible non-lethal alternatives to pump-action guns, or pellet guns. The expert panel – to be led by Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs TVSN Prasad – will submit its report in two months, ANI reported.
Director General of the Central Reserve Police Force K Durga Prasad on Monday said his forces will not stop using pellet guns – which leave permanent injuries when used for crowd control – even though they "feel very sorry" for those injured by them. Prasad, who had earlier said there was no alternative to these weapons, added that pellet guns were the "least lethal options", but that they were considering different kinds of them to find one that causes minimal damage.
The CRPF has been widely criticised for its use of the guns in the ongoing unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, which entered its 17th day on Tuesday. On July 13, Minister of Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda sent a team of three eye specialists from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, to help treat pellet injuries among those injured in the protests in Kashmir. At least 47 people have died so far in the agitations, which began after Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani was killed by security forces.