In an update to Kashmir unrest, central government has decided to review the usage of pellet guns in Kashmir. Addressing the Lok Sabha on Thursday, home minister Rajnath Singh said that an expert committee will be constituted which will recommend alternatives to pellet guns in Kashmir.
The much criticised weapon, which is declared as ‘non-lethal’ by the Indian government, is responsible for causing fatal injuries and blindness among protestors in Kashmir. Home minister has also said that the committee will submit its report within two months. Addressing the session he rejected apprehensions of some members that terrorism is on rise in the valley and said that he had official figures that suggested a decline in terrorism because of security forces.
This development comes in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s direction to the security forces to maintain “maximum restraint” in the valley. “We all feel sad over the lives lost and those injured,” Singh said. He also noted that “barbarism” can have no place in the society as some people had celebrated when some security personnel were killed. Though he announced their reviewing, he rejected the criticism that forces have been using them indiscriminately. He also repeatedly asserted that Pakistan played a “key role” in fomenting the recent trouble in Kashmir and it was sponsoring terrorism in India.
These guns, categorised as non-lethal, were introduced by the state police in 2010 when more than 100 people were killed during the stone-pelting protests.
One cartridge of a pellet gun contains a few hundred pellets which resemble ball bearings. The moment it is fired, the cartridge bursts and immediately throws hundreds of pellet from a single point. These pellets are loaded with led and once fired they disperse in huge numbers. They don’t follow a definite path. Pellets penetrate the skin’s soft tissues, and eye being the delicate structure is the most vulnerable to damage. Once the pellet goes inside an eye it shatters tissues and causes multiple damages to all parts of the eye.