Govt panel for chilli-filled grenades, stun lac shells as alternatives to pellet guns

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New Delhi, Aug 30: A committee, set up to find alternatives to pellet guns in the Kashmir Valley, on Monday suggested use of chilli-filled grenades and 'stun lac shells' to control mobs in addition to the debatable weapon being used now.

Pellet guns are, however, unlikely to be completely banned but will be fired in "rarest of rare cases".

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The seven-member expert committee, headed by Joint Secretary in the Home Ministry T V S N Prasad, submitted its report on Monday.

The panel was constituted after scores of protesters were blinded by the use of pellet guns in the Valley.

The report for exploring the other possible alternatives to pellet guns as non-lethal weapons was submitted to Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi here, an official spokesperson said.

However, the spokesperson did not elaborate about the findings of the expert committee.

Sources said Pelargonic Acid Vanillyl Amide (PAVA) also called Nonivamide and other non-lethal ammunition like 'stun lac cells' and Long Range Acoustic Device (LARD) which create deafening noise to paralyse people were understood to have suggested as possible alternatives to the pellet guns.

However, LARD is likely to be used in rural areas as it could prove dangerous for old buildings in downtown Srinagar.

Sources said pellet guns, which are being used by security forces for crowd control in Jammu and Kashmir, will not be completely banned but will be fired in "rarest of rare cases".

Senior government functionaries have arrived at this conclusion after extensive consultations with security forces and examining the ground realities in Kashmir Valley.

The option of firing pellet guns will remain but these will be used only in rarest of rare cases, the official said.

The government is facing severe criticism for using the pellet guns for crowd control in Kashmir Valley as the weapon has caused large-scale injuries in the 51-day unrest following killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani on July 8.

The expert committee also recommended Standard Operating Procedures for deployment of this new assortment of non-lethal weapons.

PTI

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