‘GoI Authorizes 4,949 More Pellet Guns For Kashmir’

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SRINAGAR: The Government of India (GoI) has authorized 4949 more pellet guns in Jammu and Kashmir. This, despite the fact, that both PDP led state government and BJP led union government had promised to restrict use of pellet guns against civilian protesters and explore other options.

However, in January, it made fresh authorisation of 4,949 pump action guns for CRPF units deployed as Rapid Action Force (RAF), and Mahila Battalion in J&K, taking the total number of pump action guns to 5,589.

Around nine pump action guns will be available with every company (around 120 personnel). More than six lakh matching cartridges, commonly referred to as pellet-shots, have also been authorised, up from 1.25 lakh last year, DNA India reported.

Currently, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has 640 pump action guns, widely known as pellet guns, but in the coming months more than 4,000 will be procured. The idea is to adequately equip every unit of the paramilitary with the ‘low-intensity munition’ to deal with frenzied crowd in demonstrations and during counter-insurgency operations.

“Earlier, pump action guns were available with only those units facing civilian protests and demonstrations like those in downtown Srinagar,’’ said a CRPF commander, adding that these protests have now spread across the Valley to even villages in south and north Kashmir. “It has become necessary that every company has adequate non-lethal weapons. Now, these guns will form part of every company.”

Last summer, an estimated 600 civilians, including schoolchildren, were blinded after being hit by pellet shots in the eyes and above waist-level, in the mass protests triggered following the killing of popular Hizbul Mujahideen commander – Burhan Wani. Another 8,000 were grievously injured with multiple pellets lodged in their vital body parts. This time round, metal deflectors will be used so that pellet shots are not dispersed above waist level.

“Pellet shots are used as a last resort. If verbal warnings, tear-gas shells don’t push back the crowd from the site of operations, then we use pump action guns,’’ said a senior CRPF officer from the operations division. PAVA (pelargonic acid vanillylamide) shells that were recommended as an alternative to pellets have been used at minimal as they were found to be ineffective to deter the crowd.

Omar Hits At Centre

Hitting out at the Centre over reports that the number of pellet guns being used during crowd control in Kashmir valley will go up in the coming months, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said so much for the assurance that pellet guns would be used in “rarest of rare cases”.

“So much for the assurance that pellet guns would be used in “rarest of rare cases”. The number of guns deployed to increase substantially,” Abdullah, who is the working president of main opposition National Conference (NC), wrote on micro-blogging siteTwitter.

Abdullah was reacting to reports that the Union government has given a nod for procuring over more than 4000 pellet guns for Kashmir valley.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh during his two visits last year to the valley had promised to ban pellet guns and restrict its use till the time other alternate was found.

Rajnath had even constituted a panel to look into alternatives for pellet gun, but reportedly the home ministry in January gave a nod for procuring more pellet guns, which will be used in the valley.

More than 100 civilians were killed while thousands others were wounded, some of them with eye injuries, in clashes which erupted since July 9.

Business and other activities came to grinding halt in the valley for about five months amid raging anti-India uprising during which civilians were killed.

A parliamentary delegation headed by Rajnath visited the valley during last year’s summer uprising but nothing substantial came out from the meetings with various stake holders. However, various members of the delegation urged the government to stop use of pellet guns during crowd control in the valley.

A five-member delegation led by senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha after its visit to the valley also recommended ban on the use of pellet gun.

However, security force official have time and again asserted that pellet guns will be used during crowd control in the valley.

It Proves J&K Ruled Through Barrel Of Gun: Rasheed

 Terming the reports that Union Government has decided to reinforce CRPF with additional six thousand pellet guns, MLA Langate, Er Rasheed, on Thursday said that the decision has “yet again proven that New Delhi is ruling state through the barrel of gun and has lost its credibility”.

While addressing various public meetings in Kupwara, a statement issued by his party said, Rasheed said, “Rajnath Singh needs to be reminded of his promises made last year to ban use of pallet guns in Kashmir. The decision to get huge number of pellet guns for CRPF has exposed New Delhi for not being able to keep such a small pity promise. However, purchasing more pellet guns is ample proof to conclude that New Delhi has lost the war in Kashmir and is falling short of arguments to deal with issue politically, as such it has decided to use bullets and pellets to control Kashmiris. May one ask New Delhi that why does not it use pellets from Tamil Nadu to Delhi, where huge protests and disturbances have become a routine now and why are only Kashmiris being blinded.’

“The decision has proved that claims made by New Delhi to engage Kashmiris in a meaningful dialogue, as misleading and faraway from reality,” he added, “New Delhi needs to be reminded yet again that pellets and bullets are no solution to political dispute and sooner New Delhi realises significance of resolving issues politically, it would be best in its own interests.”

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