The Central Reserve Police Force used 1.3 million pellets in 32 days in Kashmir to control the ongoing protests in the state, the command informed the High Court on Thursday, reported The Hindu. The force said "it was difficult to follow the standard operating procedure [SOP] given the nature of the protests".
Between July 8 and August 11, the force used 8,650 tear-smoke shells and 3,000 pellet cartridges, besides 14 types of “less lethal and nonlethal” munitions, such as oleoresin grenades, pepper balls, stun grenades and electron shells. The security personnel also used 2,671 plastic pellets, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court was told.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed seeking a complete ban on pellet guns in view of the irreversible injuries they have caused to hundreds of civilians in the Valley. Responding to the plea, the CRPF said, "Pellet guns were introduced in 2010 as an accepted weapon of riot control. In case this [pellet shotgun] is withdrawn, the CRPF would have no recourse in extreme situations but to open fire with rifles, which may cause more fatalities."
Though the CRPF agreed that the weapon should be used below the waist, as is the protocol, they said "the situation prevailing on the streets during the ongoing law and order incident is dynamic and mobile". Speaking to NDTV, CRPF Director General K Durga Prasad said, "If anyone gets injured in action we do feel bad about it; it's not with intent that we do this. When we have to control the situation, we do take action with available resources we have." He said the force's intention is never to hit above waistline, and if it was, the number of people injured would have been much higher.