A modified version of pellet guns is likely to be introduced in Jammu and Kashmir to minimise injuries during protests. The new version of the weapon will have deflectors on the muzzle end so that the shrapnel in the pellets does not hit anyone above the abdomen region, PTI reported.
With the deflectors, the force aims to bring down the margin of error from 40% to 2%, said Central Reserve Police Force, IG (Training), Atul Karwal, according to India Today. The CRPF troops have been asked to fire the pellets aiming at the feet of the protestors.
“Though the force has been advised to fire at the feet, the deflectors will ensure the pellet hit in lower part of the body when fired on protestors,” CRPF Director General K Durga Prasad said during his farewell press conference on Monday.
The new pellet guns are currently being tested and will soon replace the older ones, reported The Economic Times. The CRPF is laying out a new Standard Operating Procedure for handling protestors. Use of water cannons, Pava shells, stinger grenades are among the many measures to be adopted by the paramilitary force.
The Army had faced severe criticism after pellet guns caused serious injuries to thousands of civilians in Kashmir during protests after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani on July 8 last year.
The Home Ministry had set up a panel in August, 2016, which had suggested pellet guns be replaced with shells containing Pelargonic Acid Vanillyl Amide. However, an officer told The Economic Times that these shells were hurled back at the troops by the protestors. The army is considering making the Pava shells with plastic so that they melt when they are fired.