The State Bank of India will be buying as many as 11,000 pump action or pellet guns to guard its offices across the country, Hindustan Times reported on Thursday. The guns, which were used by the Indian Army during protests in Kashmir last year, had seriously injured and even killed civilians.
The guns will be manufactured by the Rifle Factory in Ishapore near Kolkata, India’s oldest weapon manufacturing unit. An unidentified dealer told Hindustan Times that each gun will be sold for around Rs 75,000.
Chief General Manager of SBI, C Mohan Mitra told the English daily that depending on the amount of cash handled by a bank, it will be determined which branch will need the pellet guns. The weapons being manufactured for SBI will have a 20-inch barrel according to the Arms Act regulations on non-prohibited weapons.
In July 2016, the pump action guns were used on stone-pelters in Kashmir in protests after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani. The Indian Army had faced severe criticism for injuring many with the “non-lethal” weapon.
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. Recently, it was reported that the new version of pellet guns will have deflectors on the muzzle end so that the shrapnel in the pellets does not hit anyone above the abdomen region.