CRPF will use modified pellet guns in Kashmir

The modified version of the weapon will have a deflector , an attachment on the muzzle end to prevent the pellets from going up.

New Delhi: The CRPF, deployed in the Kashmir Valley to contain insurgency, will be using a modified version of the pellet gun to ward off protests and during anti-militancy operations. The traditional pellet guns have left several protesters in Jammu and Kashmir with severe eye injuries. CRPF director general K. Durga Prasad, who is retiring on Tuesday, said that the decision for the modification was taken to minimise injuries.

The modified version of the weapon will have a “deflector”, an attachment on the muzzle end to prevent the pellets from going up.

The CRPF has tasked a special BSF workshop to deploy these metal deflectors to ensure that the shrapnels in the pellets do not hit above the abdomen region.

“The pellet guns are one of the many options that we will use to control protesters in the coming days. PAVA shells, which contain chilli powder, have a long shelf life and they are good in certain situations. But we have made it clear that the CRPF men on ground will use whatever the situation demands,” the outgoing CRPF chief said.

Officials are of the opinion that with the deflectors there is only a two per cent chance that the shot fired may hit above the point of aim as compared to the rate of 40 per cent earlier. They, however, clarified that while the use of these modified pellet guns would minimise injuries, it wouldn’t bring it down to zero.

Mr Prasad also said that the paramilitary force was now actively coordinating with Special Operations Group of the state police and the Army to undertake counter- militancy operations rather than being only a force rendering law-and-order duties.

“The situation is not as naazuk (sensitive) as it was last year. The intensity with which stone pelting happened is no longer there. The situation of stone pelting on security forces is not bad as earlier,” he said, adding that there had been many instances of locals obstructing security operations by pelting stones on security personnel.

CRPF has already deployed nearly 50 battalions in the Valley, which is about 50,000 personnel.

Meanwhile, in the Naxal infested areas CRPF has decided to use a robotic device to detect hidden IEDs and landmines that have caused numerous fatal causalities in the country’s largest paramilitary force. The capabilities of the robotic device are being ascertained by the force in consultation with IIT Mumbai.

A senior official said the robot which is under test is a four- wheeled machine which can be remotely operated by patrol teams to detect and safely defuse the bomb in a secure environment.

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